This study examined the effects of dose and time of administration of lansoprazole on gastric pH and serum gastrin in healthy male volunteers. Three groups of six subjects received 10, 20 or 60 mg doses of lansoprazole or placebo. Doses were administered at 22.00 hours daily for 7 days. An additional 18 subjects received once daily 30 mg oral doses of lansoprazole or placebo; these subjects were dosed at either 08.00 hours or 22.00 hours in a randomized, crossover fashion with a 2-week washout period. Gastric pH was monitored for 24 h following the first and final dose, and 1 week following the completion of dosing. Lansoprazole, at all doses except 20 mg/day, significantly increased the median 24-hour gastric pH following 7 days of dosing (P less than 0.05). In addition, morning dosing in the 30-mg crossover group led to a higher 24-h median pH than evening dosing (P = 0.003). There was no difference in night-time median pH between morning and evening dosing. Morning dosing also led to a significant increase in gastric pH on study Day 1 (P less than 0.05). Plasma concentrations of lansoprazole were highly variable between subjects, but there was a significant correlation between AUC and the median 24-h gastric pH. Plasma concentrations and AUCs were higher on Day 7 than on Day 1 for subjects receiving 10 or 20 mg, but not for those receiving 30 or 60 mg doses. Lansoprazole bioavailability demonstrated a circadian effect manifested by higher plasma concentrations following morning dosing. Serum gastrin concentrations were elevated in all active medication groups.