December 14, 2015
I have little-known hypnotic properties.
What molecule am I?
Image of Mebutamate 3D Image of Mebutamate

Mebutamate is a biscarbamate drug that has anxiolytic, sedative, and antihypertensive effects. It is marketed under many trade names, including Capla and Dormate. Its preparation was reported in a 1959 US patent to Carter Products.

It is less well known that mebutamate is also a hypnotic. In a 1967 study, L. Tetreault, P. Richer, and J. M. Bordeleau in Montreal found that, at a dose of 600 mg, mebutamate has hypnotic properties that “affect the duration and quality of sleep induction, and the duration and quality of sleep, without disturbing the state of the subject upon awakening and during the morning.” A higher dose (900 mg) did not change the overall effect, which was “consistently between that of secobarbital at 200 mg and 100 mg.” The authors did not observe any significant side effects.

MOTW Updates

Herbicides glyphosate and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid were Molecules of the Week on October 5, 2009, and August 12, 2012, respectively. In October 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a registration to Dow AgroSciences for Enlist Duo, a combination of these chemicals. But last month the EPA asked a federal court to rescind its approval on the basis that Dow may have understated its toxicity to nontarget plants. Dow believes that EPA’s concerns can be overcome before the start of the 2016 growing season.

The September 9, 2012, molecule was the kinase inhibitor bosutinib. It was notorious at the time because researchers were unwittingly performing studies on a compound labeled as bosutinib, which was in fact one of its isomers. Now Pfizer chemists have developed simple analytical methods that distinguish the drug from its isomers.

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