A number of drugs undergo extensive first-pass metabolism after oral administration, necessitating large doses for effective therapeutic responses in the body. Buccal administration of drugs is becoming more popular because the drugs diffuse into the systemic circulation directly, circumventing the first-pass metabolism. Lower concentrations thus need to be administered and side effects may be minimized. In this study, one of the classic models for human buccal permeability, i.e. the porcine buccal mucosal model, is compared with the more recent human vaginal model and both these are in turn further compared to porcine mouth floor mucosa. To determine the permeability of the different markers (arecoline, 17beta-estradiol, water and vasopressin), a continuous flow-through perfusion system was used (20 degrees C, 24h). Mean steady state flux values were compared statistically using a t-test at a significance level of 5%. Porcine buccal mucosa showed a consistently lower permeability towards all the markers than the other mucosae tested. Porcine mouth floor mucosa was found to be more permeable than porcine buccal mucosa. From these studies we concluded that human vaginal and porcine mouth floor mucosae were superior models for human buccal mucosa than porcine buccal mucosa, using in vitro permeability studies with various chemical markers.