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J Clin Pharm Ther. 2010 Dec;35(6):691-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2009.01147.x.

Modification of propranolol's bioavailability by Eurycoma longifolia water-based extract.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Penang, Malaysia.



Eurycoma longifolia (E. longifolia), a herb commonly consumed for its aphrodisiac properties, is widely used by Asian males. This may include hypertensive patients receiving propranolol which may cause sexual dysfunction as one of its side-effects. There is no published study of the potential pharmacokinetic interaction between propranolol and the herb.


To study propranolol's pharmacokinetics when E. longifolia is consumed, comparing volunteers given either propranolol or a placebo.


This is a placebo-controlled randomized single-blinded crossover study of the effect of a water-based extract of E. longifolia on the pharmacokinetics of a single dose of proporanolol (Inderal(®)) in 14 healthy non-smoker young males. Eighty milligram of propranonol was orally administered with (i) placebo (Lactose) or (ii) 200 mg of water-based extract of E. longifolia (0·0272 ± 0·0026%eurycomanone) following an overnight fasting. Blood samples were collected at 0, 0·5, 1, 1·5, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10 h for propranolol's plasma concentration determinations using a validated high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method.


When propranolol was administered with E. longifolia, its bioavailability (AUC0-∞) decreased by 29% while C(max) was reduced by 42% and T(max) was significantly prolonged by almost 86%. The terminal elimination half-life, however, was not significantly affected.


The bioavailability of propranolol is significantly decreased when consumed together with E. longifolia. The interaction is due to a reduction in absorption, rather than an increase in propranolol's metabolism. Although the pharmacodynamics of propranolol was not affected in healthy volunteers, caution is still advisable with co-administration of the drug and the herb.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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