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TEMPO-Mediated Electrochemical N-demethylation of Opiate Alkaloids

28 July 2021

​Ali Alipour Najmi, M. Faizan Bhat, Rainer Bischoff, Gerrit J. Poelarends, Hjalmar P. Permentier 

Opioids constitute a variety of import drugs that are used against alcohol/drug dependence, constipation, and extreme pain, such as the neuropathic pain associated with diabetic patients. These drugs have a characteristic pharmacophore from which many essential opioids and related compounds are derived after downstream semi-synthetic steps. The most important step in this synthetic sequence is the rate-limiting N- demethylation that leads to the formation of intermediate "nor-opiates". This paper highlights a novel TEMPO-mediated electrochemical method for the "N- demethylation" of opiates using a homemade batch cell with low-cost porous glassy carbon electrodes. Our method provides a more efficient, economical , scalable, and greener method for the production of valuable pharmaceutical building blocks.

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