Esmolol (trade name Brevibloc) is a cardioselective beta1 receptor blocker with rapid onset, a very short duration of action, and no significant intrinsic sympathomimetic or membrane stabilising activity at therapeutic dosages.
Esmolol decreases the force and rate of heart contractions by blocking beta-adrenergic receptors of the sympathetic nervous system, which are found in the heart and other organs of the body. Esmolol prevents the action of two naturally occurring substances: epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Esmolol is rapidly hydrolyzed by plasma esterases and not by plasma cholinesterases. Esmolol's short duration of action is based on the ester-methyl side chain which allows for quick hydrolysis. Esmolol's structure is reflected in its name, Es-molol as in ester-methyl. Plasma cholinesterases and red cell membrane acetylcholinesterase do not have any action. This metabolism results in the formation of a free acid and methanol. The amount of methanol produced is similar to endogenous methanol production. Its elimination half-life is about 9 minutes.