12 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY
12.1 Mechanism of Action
Metoprolol is a beta1-selective (cardioselective) adrenergic receptor blocking agent. This preferential effect is not absolute, however, and at higher plasma concentrations, metoprolol also inhibits beta2-adrenoreceptors, chiefly located in the bronchial and vascular musculature.
Metoprolol has no intrinsic sympathomimetic activity, and membrane-stabilizing activity is detectable only at plasma concentrations much greater than required for beta-blockade. Animal and human experiments indicate that metoprolol slows the sinus rate and decreases AV nodal conduction.
The relative beta1-selectivity of metoprolol has been confirmed by the following: (1) In normal subjects, metoprolol is unable to reverse the beta2-mediated vasodilating effects of epinephrine. This contrasts with the effect of nonselective beta-blockers, which completely reverse the vasodilating effects of epinephrine. (2) In asthmatic patients, metoprolol reduces FEV1 and FVC significantly less than a nonselective beta-blocker, propranolol, at equivalent beta1-receptor blocking doses.
The precise mechanism of action of metoprolol tartrate in patients with suspected or definite myocardial infarction is not known.
When the drug was infused over a 10-minute period, in normal volunteers, maximum beta-blockade was achieved at approximately 20 minutes. Equivalent maximal beta-blocking effect is achieved with oral and intravenous doses in the ratio of approximately 2.5:1. There is a linear relationship between the log of plasma levels and reduction of exercise heart rate.
In several studies of patients with acute myocardial infarction, intravenous followed by oral administration of metoprolol tartrate caused a reduction in heart rate, systolic blood pressure and cardiac output. Stroke volume, diastolic blood pressure and pulmonary artery end diastolic pressure remained unchanged.
About 12% of the drug is bound to human serum albumin.
Metoprolol crosses the blood-brain barrier and has been reported in the CSF in a concentration 78% of the simultaneous plasma concentration.
Elimination is mainly by biotransformation in the liver, and the plasma half-life ranges from approximately 3 to 7 hours.
Metoprolol is a racemic mixture of R- and S-enantiomers, and is primarily metabolized by CYP2D6. When administered orally, it exhibits stereoselective metabolism that is dependent on oxidation phenotype.
Less than 5% of an oral dose of metoprolol is recovered unchanged in the urine; the rest is excreted by the kidneys as metabolites that appear to have no beta-blocking activity. Following intravenous administration of metoprolol, the urinary recovery of unchanged drug is approximately 10%.
Mean dialytic clearance of metoprolol following oral administration in patients receiving high-flux hemodialysis is 87 mL/min. Mean total systemic clearance of metoprolol following intravenous administration in patients with chronic renal failure is 1 L/min.
Metoprolol is metabolized predominantly by CYP2D6. In healthy subjects with CYP2D6 extensive metabolizer phenotype, coadministration of quinidine 100 mg, a potent CYP2D6 inhibitor, and immediate-release metoprolol 200 mg tripled the concentration of S-metoprolol and doubled the metoprolol elimination half-life. In four patients with cardiovascular disease, coadministration of propafenone 150 mg t.i.d. with immediate-release metoprolol 50 mg t.i.d. resulted in steady-state concentration of metoprolol 2-to 5-fold what is seen with metoprolol alone. Extensive metabolizers who concomitantly use CYP2D6 inhibiting drugs will have increased (several-fold) metoprolol blood levels, decreasing metoprolol's cardioselectivity [see Drug Interactions (7.2)].