The synthesis, biological evaluation, and structure-activity relationships of a series of 1-(pyridylphenyl)-1-phenyl-2-imidazolylethanols are described. These compounds show potent dose-dependent topical antiinflammatory activity in murine models of skin inflammation. This effect is likely due to inhibition of cytochrome P450 and consequent reduction in levels of 12R-HETE in the skin. These compounds were examined for their ability to inhibit the oxidative metabolism of arachidonic acid; they specifically inhibit the formation of prostacyclins in mouse macrophages. To study the effects of structure on the in vivo activity, three general features of the molecules were varied: the position of attachment of the pyridine nucleus (A), the second aromatic residue (B), and the nitrogen base on the ethanol chain (C). 1-[4-(4-Pyridyl)phenyl]-1-(4-fluorophenyl)-2- imidazolylethanol (2a, DuP 983) shows a very attractive profile of antiinflammatory activity and has been selected for clinical evaluation as a topical antiinflammatory agent.