What is a prodrug?
A prodrug is a medication or compound that, after administration, is metabolized (i.e., converted within the body) into a pharmacologically active drug. Inactive prodrugs are pharmacologically inactive medications that are metabolized into an active form within the body. Instead of administering a drug directly, a corresponding prodrug might be used instead to improve how a medicine is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted. Prodrugs are often designed to improve bioavailability when a drug itself is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. A prodrug may be used to improve how selectively the drug interacts with cells or processes that are not its intended target. This reduces adverse or unintended effects of a drug, especially important in treatments like chemotherapy, which can have severe unintended and undesirable side effects.