Patients with gallstone disease commonly have impaired gallbladder emptying. To see whether non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) prevent gallstone formation by improving gallbladder emptying, we assessed the effect of indomethacin on postprandial emptying in healthy subjects and in patients with gallstone disease. Subjects received indomethacin 25 mg three times a day for a week and matching placebo for another week. Compared with placebo, indomethacin improved postprandial gallbladder emptying in all 7 patients with gallstone disease. This finding was not recorded in healthy subjects with normal gallbladders. The prevention of gallstone formation associated with ingestion of NSAIDs may be due mainly to a prokinetic effect on the gallbladder since there is no evidence to suggest that these drugs affect cholesterol crystal nucleation at ordinary therapeutic doses in man or animals.