The effect of repetitive oral administration of propranolol on hepatic microsomal drug metabolizing enzyme activities in the rat was investigated. Propranolol ring (4-, 5- and 7-)hydroxylase activities were markedly decreased, but, interestingly, N-desisopropylase activity was increased after propranolol administration. A marked decrease in enzyme activity after propranolol pretreatment was also observed with debrisoquine 4-hydroxylation. In addition, a similar decrease was observed with imipramine 2-hydroxylation which co-segregates with debrisoquine/sparteine type polymorphic drug oxidation, but not with imipramine N-demethylation. These results suggest the selective impairment of debrisoquine 4-hydroxylase by propranolol pretreatment.