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Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Buffered Propranolol Sublingual Tablet (Promptol™)—Application of a New “Physiologically Based” Model to Assess Absorption and Disposition


Sublingual administration of certain buffered propranolol may improve the rate and extent of absorption compared to oral administration. The main objectives of this study were to (1) compare the plasma propranolol concentrations (Cp-prop) following sublingual administration of a specially buffered formulation (Promptol™) to that following oral administration of Inderal® and (2) evaluate the utility of a special pharmacokinetic model in describing the Cp-prop following sublingual administration. Eighteen healthy volunteers received 10 mg sublingual Promptol™ or oral Inderal®. Multiple Cp-prop were determined and their pharmacokinetics compared. Additional data following sublingual 40 mg Promptol™ or Inderal® were utilized for evaluation of a special advanced compartmental absorption and transit (ACAT) model. For model simulation, the physicochemical parameters were imported from AMET predictor, whereas the pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated and optimized by Gastroplus®. Based on this model, the quantity of drug absorbed via buccal/sublingual mucosa was estimated. Cp-prop was higher at earlier times with 3-fold greater relative bioavailability following sublingual Promptol™ compared to that from oral Inderal®. The special ACAT model provided excellent goodness of fit of Cp-prop-time curve and estimated a 56.6% increase in absorption rate from Promptol™ and higher initial Cp-prop compared to the regular formulation. The modified ACAT model provided a useful approach to describe sublingual absorption of propranolol and clearly demonstrated an improvement of absorption of Promptol™. The sublingual 10 mg Promptol™ achieved not only a similar systemic exposure as 30 mg oral Inderal® but an earlier effective Cp-prop which may be advantageous for certain clinical conditions.

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This study was supported by an external grant from Comprehensive Drug Enterprises Ltd., Hong Kong Science Park, Hong Kong.

Conflict of Interest

Yanfeng Wang and Benjamin T.K. Lee are employees of the company, and Moses S.S. Chow is a shareholder of the company.

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Correspondence to Moses S. S. Chow.

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Yanfeng Wang and Zhijun Wang contributed equally to this work.

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Wang, Y., Wang, Z., Zuo, Z. et al. Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Buffered Propranolol Sublingual Tablet (Promptol™)—Application of a New “Physiologically Based” Model to Assess Absorption and Disposition. AAPS J 15, 787–796 (2013).

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Key words

  • ACAT
  • buffered
  • pharmacokinetics
  • propranolol
  • sublingual