Authors: Rochelle Lamertsen; Katherine Christensen; Neslihan Parlak, Kail Tomothy, Zachary Taha, Arianna Carter, Mintadher Al-Azzawi, Nathaniel Curtis, Christopher Peak, Anna Djedjemel, Briane Barrs, Asma Bano, Meredith Brennan, Shaun Miller, Brendan Schnopp, Alex Binsacca, Cynthia Sharma, Ron Valcarce, Peter Iles, Rajan Kochambili, Wesley Sanders. Phenytoin is listed by the World Health Organization as an Essential Medicine that is one of the most cost-effective anti-epileptic (AED) treatments available.1 However, availability of the drug to pharmacies in developing countries is limited. 85% of those affected with epilepsy live without treatment. Low commercial production, political instabilities, and/or financial barriers prevent the availability of this anti-epileptic drug. A more efficient and cost-effective method for supplying phenytoin to local clinics and medical personnel could alleviate some of these barriers. The goal of this project was to refine a small-scale synthesis and purification of phenytoin using base-catalyzed addition of urea to benzil, followed by pinacol rearrangement and recrystallization. Our procedure emphasized simple laboratory equipment found in the most basic of pharmacy laboratories. Using the International Pharmacopoeia guidelines for pharmaceutical purity, we achieved over 98% purity. Verification of pharmaceutical grade purity was achieved by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).
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