To investigate the relation between acetvlator phenotype and the development of procainamide-induced lupus, we determined the rate of development of antinuclear antibodies in 20 patients of known acetylator phenotype receiving chronic procainamide therapy. The duration of therapy required to induce antibodies in 50 per cent of slow (11) and rapid (nine) acetylators was 2.9 and 7.3 months respectively. The median total dose that produced ant;bodies was 1.5 g per kilogram and 6.1 g per kilogram respectively. After one year antibodies had developed in 18 patients. Retrospective studies of patients in whom procainamide lupus had developed revealed that the duration of therapy required for induction in 14 slow and seven rapid acetylators was 12 +/- 5 and 48 +/- 22 months respectively (P less than 0.002). We conclude that acetylator phenotype influences the rate at which procainamide induces antinuclear antibodies and probably the lupus syndrome. Antibody production is probably related to the parent compound or a non-acetylated metabolite.