Exercise increases plasma concentrations of (R)- and (S)-propranolol
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Objective: We recently reported a highly stereoselective increase in plasma concentrations of (S)-atenolol during exercise which is most likely due to a release of the drug from adrenergic cells. The objective of the present study was to investigate the influence of physical exercise on plasma concentrations of the (R)- and (S)-enantiomers of propranolol.
Blood samples were taken immediately before and at the end of exercise in 12 patients receiving chronic treatment with racemic (R, S)-propranolol. Plasma concentrations of (R)- and (S)-propranolol were determined by HPLC.
In contrast to atenolol, mean plasma concentrations of (S)-propranolol were significantly higher (+20%) than those of (R)-propranolol at rest. During exercise there was an increase in plasma concentrations of both (R)-propranolol (+129%) and (S)-propranolol (+109%).
Based on information from in vitro studies we conclude that the increase in plasma concentrations of (S)-propranolol during exercise is caused by a release of the drug from adrenergic nerves, whereas the reason for the increase in (R)-propranolol remains to be determined. This release of the β-adrenoceptor blocking (S)-enantiomer directly at the synaptic gaps might be one reason for the poor correlation between plasma concentration and effect of β-adrenoceptor antagonists repeatedly described in the literature.
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