Metabolism of beta-adrenergic substances. Therapeutic implications

Brès, J.; Clauzel, A.M.; Pistre, M.C.; Rachmat, H.; Bressolle, F.

Bulletin Europeen de Physiopathologie Respiratoire 21(5): 19s-34s


ISSN/ISBN: 0395-3890
PMID: 2865990
Document Number: 4340
The metabolism of the main beta-adrenoceptor stimulants which are not catechol derivatives involves conjugation with glucuronic or sulphuric acids in several animal species and conjugation with sulphuric acid in man. These drugs are not metabolized by MAO like isoproterenol or by COMT like the catechol derivatives: isoproterenol, trimetoquinol, hexoprenaline and rimiterol. Sulphate conjugation, in man, increases with the number of hydroxy groups. For salbutamol, pirbuterol, terbutaline and fenoterol, about 30%, 30%, 15% and 10% are respectively present in plasma as the unchanged active compound. Clenbuterol, a new specific beta 2-adrenoceptor stimulant, is a 4-amino-3,5 dichloro-benzene derivative and cannot be conjugated. It is cleared from the body mainly by the renal route (43% of the administered dose) and has eight minor metabolites, identical in several animal species and in man. Tulobuterol with no hydroxy substitute does not undergo conjugation, but is metabolized to 4-hydroxy tulobuterol. This metabolite is shown to be eight times more potent than tulobuterol. Metabolism depends greatly upon the route of administration: intravenous, subcutaneous, oral, by aerosol or instillation into the bronchial tree. Conjugation or COMT inactivation can take place in the gut wall (terbutaline), in lungs (isoproterenol, terbutaline, rimiterol) or by hepatic first-pass. These processes decrease the amount of drug reaching the blood and the receptor sites. Metabolism in the lung is important for ibuterol (terbutaline diisobutyrate), which is more lipophilic than terbutaline and spreads throughout tissues where it is hydrolyzed to active terbutaline. Biotransformations are determined by environmental or genetic factors and by the associated therapy and can change dramatically from one patient to another (interindividual variability) or for the same patient by multiple dosing (intra-individual variability). These differences in the rates of the metabolism can explain, partly, the differences observed in the response to beta-adrenoceptor stimulants by responder or non-responder patients. Decision about a therapeutic dosage regiment involves the choice of the drug, of the route of administration and of the dose. This choice is made on the basis of the dose/response relationship. In the kinetic approach, pharmacokinetic data obtained after a single dose facilitate the development of an appropriate dosage regimen.

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Metabolism of beta-adrenergic substances. Therapeutic implications