The adrenal steroids have assumed a role of major importance in clinical therapy during the past few years. Although clinical application of these compounds has been rapid and extensive, therapy of this type is not without complications and side-effects. As a result, a great deal of research emphasis has been placed upon attempts to synthesize new steroids with enhanced therapeutic effectiveness and with as few as possible deleterious or undesirable properties.
The first major advance in this direction resulted when theΔ1-steroids, prednisone and prednisolone were synthesized.1-4 These compounds are related structurally to cortisone and hydrocortisone, respectively, and differ from the parent steroids by having a double bond in the C-1 position. These Δ1-steroids now have been given extensive trial and have been found to have wide clinical applicability. It has been postulated that the enhanced effectiveness of these compounds is due, in part, to delayed degradation