1. Two studies of the elimination of mianserin are reported. 2. In the first study, the oral clearance of mianserin was measured in 15 elderly patients at steady state. In a sub-group of eight patients who completed studies at two different doses there was evidence of enhanced oral clearance at the higher dose. 3. In the second study, the elimination half-life was estimated in 12 patients who were observed to have disproportionately high mianserin concentrations with respect to dose. All had half-lives greater than or equal to 2.5 days with a mean of 6 +/- 2.8 (s.d.) days. In six of the patients the profile of elimination was suggestive of saturable elimination. 4. The sparteine oxidation status was measured in seven of the patients showing slow mianserin elimination. Only one was a 'poor oxidiser' of sparteine, suggesting no concordance with this phenotype. 5. It is concluded that there is marked variability in the elimination of mianserin in elderly patients.