Toxicology Investigations

Journal of Medical Toxicology

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 71-76

First online:

Intralipid infusion ameliorates propranolol-induced hypotension in rabbits

  • Martyn G. HarveyAffiliated withDepartment of Emergency Medicine, Waikato Hospital Email author 
  • , Grant R. CaveAffiliated withEmergency Medical Systems, Australia

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Recent case reports of successful amelioration of lipid-soluble drug toxidromes with Intralipid infusion have prompted interest in the scope of lipid emulsions as antidotal therapy. Propranolol is a highly lipid-soluble, nonselective beta-blocker with additional local-anaesthetic properties. We explored the hypothesis that propranolol toxicity may be similarly attenuated by Intralipid infusion in a rabbit model.


Twenty sedated, invasively monitored, and mechanically ventilated New Zealand White rabbits underwent propranolol infusion at 4.2 mg/min to a target mean arterial pressure (MAP) of 60% baseline MAP. Animals subsequently received 6 ml/kg 20% Intralipid, or 6 ml/kg 0.9% saline solution over a 4-minute period. Pulse rate and MAP were recorded at 2.5-minute intervals to 15 minutes.


MAP was greatest in the Intralipid group (median 69 mmHg, interquartile range [IQR] 17.5 mmHg Intralipid vs. median 53 mmHg, IQR 12.75 mmHg saline;p = 0.029) at 15 minutes. No difference was observed in first derivative of MAP, or pulse rate between groups.


Propranolol-induced hypotension is ameliorated by Intralipid infusion in this intact rabbit model. The mechanism of action remains to be elucidated.


propranolol toxicity Intralipid