Ibopamine is an orally active derivative of dopamine (DA) which metabolizes to its active form, epinine. Epinine is one of the few catecholamines that possess dopaminergic--DA1 and DA2--activity, alpha 1, alpha 2, beta 1, and beta 2 activity, with indirect sympathomimetic action of dopamine. Ibopamine increased positive dP/dt, stroke volume, aortic blood flow, renal blood flow, and diuresis in animals. In healthy volunteers and patients with heart failure, a single oral dose of ibopamine showed primary vasodilating action (postsynaptic DA1 activity and presynaptic DA2 activity). Following a single oral dose of 100 or 200 mg of ibopamine, the plasma concentration of epinine reached its peak within 30 minutes, and declined rapidly so that concentration was not detectable after 1.5-3 hours. Pharmacokinetics and hemodynamic effects in congestive heart failure patients are also discussed.