Dopamine decreases gastric tone and may therefore influence gastrointestinal motility. The aim of this investigation was to study the effects of a continuous infusion of dopamine on gastric emptying and orocaecal transit time. Nine healthy male volunteers were studied on two occasions in a randomized order. All volunteers received on separate days a continuous infusion of dopamine 5 micrograms kg-1 min-1 on one occasion and normal saline on the other occasion. Gastric emptying was measured by the paracetamol absorption test and orocaecal transit time by the hydrogen breath test. During the dopamine infusion the area under the paracetamol concentration curve was significantly smaller than during control conditions (P = 0.02). Orocaecal transit time was prolonged during the dopamine infusion (P = 0.02). Dopamine delays gastric emptying and prolongs orocaecal transit time.