To address the question why isoluminol, but not luminol, failed to detect oxidants produced intracellularly, differences between these luminophores were investigated with respect to physicochemical parameters and the character of chemiluminescence signal. Our results showed the isoluminol molecule to be more polar, more hydrophilic and possessing lower ability to form intramolecular bonds than the luminol molecule. Therefore, isoluminol: (i) only slightly pervaded biological membranes; (ii) depended essentially on extracellular peroxidase; (iii) did not produce chemiluminescence in the presence of extracellular scavengers; and (iv) it could be considered a specific detector of extracellular radicals. On the other hand, the physicochemical parameters of luminol and partial resistance of its chemiluminescence to the effect of extracellular inhibitors proved the lipo/hydrophilic character of this luminophore and thus its ability to interact with radicals both outside and inside of cells. The luminol chemiluminescence measured in the presence of extracellular scavengers and the isoluminol chemiluminescence were used with the intention to differentiate the effects of two antihistamine drugs on intra- and extracellular radical formation. In activated human neutrophils, brompheniramine inhibited the extracellular and potentiated the intracellular part of chemiluminescence signal, whereas a reducing effect of loratadine was observed in both compartments.