1. The effects of rupatadine, a new dual antagonist of both histamine H1 and platelet-activating factor receptors, were studied on human cloned hKv1.5 channels expressed in Ltk- cells using the whole-cell patch-clamp technique. 2. Rupatadine produced a use- and concentration-dependent block of hKv1.5 channels (KD=2.4+/-0.7 micronM) and slowed the deactivation of the tail currents, thus inducing the 'crossover' phenomenon. 3. Rupatadine-induced block was voltage-dependent increasing in the voltage range for channel opening suggesting an open channel interaction. At potentials positive to +10 mV the blockade decreased with a shallow voltage-dependence. Moreover, rupatadine also modified the voltage-dependence of hKv1.5 channel activation, which exhibited two components, the midpoint of the steeper component averaging -25. 2+/-2.7 mV. 4. When the intracellular K+ concentration ([K+]i) was lowered to 25% the voltage-dependent unblock observed at positive potentials was suppressed and the activation curve in the presence of rupatadine did not exhibit two components even when the midpoint of the activation curve was shifted to more negative potentials (-30. 3+/-1.3 mV). 5. On channels mutated on the residue R485 (R485Y) which is located on the external entryway of the pore the rupatadine-induced block did not decrease at potentials positive to +10 mV. In contrast, on V512M channels rupatadine reproduced all the features of the blockade observed on wild type channels. 6. All these results suggest that rupatadine blocks hKv1.5 channels binding to an external and to an internal binding site but only at concentrations much higher than therapeutic plasma levels in man. Efflux of K+ promotes the unbinding from the external site. Furthermore, rupatadine binds to an internal site and dramatically modifies the voltage-dependence of channel opening.