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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1983 Nov;16(5):565-9.

Induction of propranolol metabolism by rifampicin.


The effect of rifampicin on the blood concentration-time curve of propranolol at steady-state following oral administration of 120 mg every 8 h was investigated in six normal, young, male subjects. After an initial 2 week dosing period, all individuals additionally received 600 mg rifampicin daily for 3 weeks followed by a 4 week period during which again only the propranolol was given. In four of the subjects the effects of 900 and 1200 mg rifampicin daily was also studied. Changes in disposition were assessed by estimation of propranolol's oral clearance and elimination half-life during the dosage interval. Rifampicin (600 mg/day) caused a large increase in propranolol's oral clearance (35.7 +/- 16.3 vs 96.1 +/- 26.9 ml min-1 kg-1, mean +/- s.d.), but neither the elimination half-life nor extent of plasma binding were affected. Increasing the daily dosage to 900 and 1200 mg did not cause any additional changes in oral clearance. Four weeks after discontinuing rifampicin, propranolol's oral clearance had essentially returned to its pre-induction level. The oral clearance of propranolol was significantly smaller (89.5 +/- 14.4%) during the dosage interval immediately after administration of the last rifampicin dose than the value measured 24 h later. The findings are consistent with rifampicin causing induction of the drug metabolizing enzymes responsible for propranolol's biotransformation. The marked reduction in the steady-state propranolol blood concentration that results from chronic rifampicin administration would be expected to result in a significant change in clinical effectiveness of the beta-adrenoceptor blocker when the two drugs are used concurrently.

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