The pharmacokinetics of quinine has been studied in ten healthy adult Africans after intravenous infusion and oral ingestion of a 500 mg dose. Blood and saliva samples were collected over 48 h and quinine in plasma, red cells and saliva was determined by HPLC. Quinine was rapidly and almost completely absorbed after an oral dose, with absorption half-life of 0.53 h, a tmax of 1-3 h and a bioavailability of 88%. Analysis of the i.v. data gave an apparent volume of distribution of 3.6 l.kg-1 and a plasma clearance of 0.19 l.kg-1.h-1. The concentration-time curves for plasma, red cells and saliva had declining phases were approximately parallel, giving a similar half-life that in all three media. The half-lives after the i.v. infusion also did not different from those after oral administration. The dose was well tolerated by both methods of administration.