The influence of a high-protein meal as compared to fasting on the disposition of simultaneous intravenous and oral doses of propranolol, as well as on indocyanine green clearance, was examined in six normal subjects. The intravenous dose (0.1 mg/kg) was unlabeled propranolol and the oral dose (80 mg) was a stereospecifically deuterium-labeled pseudoracemate of propranolol. Systemic clearance of propranolol increased 38%, from 1005 +/- 57 to 1384 +/- 115 ml/min (mean +/- SE; P less than 0.05) as a result of the meal, with no change in t1/2 or apparent volume of distribution. A 12% decrease in oral clearance occurred with the meal but was not statistically significant (3717 +/- 185 ml/min, fasting; 3245 +/- 498 after meal), whereas bioavailability increased 67% (27.2% +/- 1.7% fasting; 45.5% +/- 4.3% after meal; P less than 0.01). Estimated hepatic blood flow, as measured by indocyanine green clearance, rose 34% 60 minutes after the meal (1719 +/- 155 ml/min fasting; 2304 +/- 218 ml/min after meal; P less than 0.02). A difference was observed in the oral clearance of the propranolol enantiomers in the fasting state, but this difference was unaffected by the meal. These alterations in propranolol disposition, as the result of a high-protein meal, are consistent with a transient increase in hepatic blood flow.