Stereoselective disposition and glucuronidation of propranolol in humans

J Pharm Sci. 1982 Jun;71(6):699-704. doi: 10.1002/jps.2600710623.


Following oral dosing to steady state, the disposition of S(-)- and R(+)-propranolol and their corresponding glucuronide conjugates was studied in 4 healthy adults using doses from 40 to 320 mg/day of the racemate. Steady -state plasma concentrations of S(-)-propranolol and its corresponding glucuronide conjugate were greater than that for R(+)-propranolol and its corresponding conjugate. The average steady-state concentration of both enantiomers increased disproportionately to dose. There was a 52+/- 7 (mean +/- SD) % decrease in the intrinsic clearance (clint) of S(-)-propranolol and a 65 +/- 22% decrease in the Clint of R(+)-propranolol over the dosing range studied. The terminal elimination half-lives of S(-)-propranolol and its glucuronide conjugate were longer than for the R(+)-enantiomer at all doses. The formation of glucuzonide conjugates of S(-)- and R(+)-propranolol was best described by a saturable process in all subjects. Within individuals, the ratio of Vmax/Km for the glucuronide conjugate of S(-)-propranolol was from 2.1-to 4.9-fold greater than for the conjugate of the R(+)-enantiomer. These studies demonstrate for the first time, that propranolol undergoes stereoselective disposition in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Glucuronates / metabolism
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Propranolol / metabolism*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Time Factors


  • Glucuronates
  • Propranolol