1. The urinary excretion of salbutamol and its sulphate metabolite was measured following oral (4 mg) and inhaled (4 x 100 micrograms) administration of salbutamol. 2. Total urinary recovery of salbutamol and its sulphate conjugate indicated a mean (s.d.) relative bioavailability of 92.2 (24.8) % following inhalation compared with oral administration. 3. The mean (s.d.) elimination half-lives of salbutamol and its sulphate conjugate were 5.7 (1.4) and 4.1 (2.1) h, respectively, after oral administration and following inhalation they were 6.1 (2.1) and 5.1 (1.0) h, respectively. 4. Following oral and inhaled administration it was found that in the first 30 min the mean (s.d.) percentage of the dose excreted in the urine as unchanged salbutamol was 0.18 (0.14) and 2.06 (0.80) %, respectively (P < 0.01). The drug content of a urine sample taken 30 min after inhalation is, therefore, considered to be representative of the amount of drug delivered to the lungs. It is proposed that this method can be used to evaluate the relative bioavailability of salbutamol to the lung following inhalation by different techniques and devices.