Nitrile-containing pharmaceuticals: target, mechanism of action, and their SAR studies
The nitrile group is an important functional group widely found in both pharmaceutical agents and natural products. More than 30 nitrile-containing pharmaceuticals have been approved by the FDA for the management of a broad range of clinical conditions in the last few decades. Incorporation of a nitrile group into lead compounds has gradually become a promising strategy in rational drug design as it can bring additional benefits including enhanced binding affinity to the target, improved pharmacokinetic profile of parent drugs, and reduced drug resistance. This paper reviews the existing drugs with a nitrile moiety that have been approved or in clinical trials, involving their targets, molecular mechanism of pharmacology and SAR studies, and classifies them into different categories based on their clinical usages.