The effects of two H2-receptor antagonists, famotidine and cimetidine, on the plasma levels of epidurally administered lignocaine were studied. Group A (n = 20) received famotidine 20 mg orally the night before surgery and 20 mg intramuscularly 60 minutes before induction of anaesthesia. Group B (n = 15) received cimetidine 200 mg orally the night before the surgery and 400 mg orally 60 minutes before the anaesthetic induction. Group C (n = 20) received neither famotidine nor cimetidine and served as controls. Twelve millilitres of 2.0% lignocaine with adrenaline 1:200,000 was injected into the epidural space in all patients, after the establishment of general anaesthesia with nitrous oxide, oxygen, and enflurane (0.3-0.5%). The patients who received cimetidine showed significantly higher plasma concentrations of lignocaine compared with either group A or group C at all investigation times (p less than 0.01). The mean peak plasma concentrations were 2.4 (SEM 0.1), 3.2 (SEM 0.2) and 2.3 (SEM 0.1) micrograms/ml in group A, B, and C, respectively. This study suggests that famotidine is preferable to cimetidine for control of gastric acidity before the use of lignocaine as the epidural anaesthetic.