Propranolol is well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, but it is avidly extracted by the liver as the drug passes to the systemic circulation (first-pass effect). This effect explains the large variation in plasma levels of propranolol seen after oral drug administration.
Because of these interindividual variations in the kinetics of propranolol, the therapeutic dose of this drug is best determined by titration. End points of titration include relief of anginal symptoms, increases in exercise tolerance, and plasma concentration of propranolol between 15 and 100 ng/mL. For additional details on the pharmacokinetics of propranolol and other ( -receptor antagonists approved for clinical use in the treatment of angina pectoris, see Table 17.3 and Chapter 11.
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