Development of a continuous flow synthesis of propranolol: tackling a competitive side reaction


This work reports the preparation of propranolol according to a flow process. Propranolol has been prepared paying attention to tackle the formation of the by-product tertiary amine, resulting from an additional ring opening of the starting epoxide. Remarkably, the use of catalytic amount of water resulted beneficial for the yield and purity of the desired propranolol, and to substantially reducing the amount of tertiary amine byproduct. The high concentration of the solutions allowed for a productivity of several grams/h.

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We are grateful to Prof. Saverio Cellamare for the precious contribution in the technical support.

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Correspondence to Gabriele Rebuzzini or Renzo Luisi.

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De Angelis, S., Celestini, P., Purgatorio, R. et al. Development of a continuous flow synthesis of propranolol: tackling a competitive side reaction. J Flow Chem 9, 231–236 (2019).

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  • Propranolol
  • Tertiary amines
  • Ring opening
  • Flow chemistry
  • HPLC