1. Allopurinol usage in 50 patients of a city teaching hospital was surveyed. 2. The plasma concentrations of oxipurinol and uric acid and the urinary production of uric acid were examined. 3. The daily doses of allopurinol ranged from 50 to 1200 mg but 83% of patients were taking 300 mg daily. 4. A wide range of plasma oxipurinol concentrations was observed from 2.8 to 55.8 mg l-1 with a mean +/- s.d. of 15.2 +/- 11.7 mg l-1. 5. The population studied included a high proportion of patients with renal impairment and creatinine clearance was a significant determinant of oxipurinol concentrations (P less than 0.005). 6. There was no significant correlation between plasma urate and plasma oxipurinol concentrations and only a few plasma urates were above the upper limit of the reference range of the laboratory. 7. It was apparent that many patients were taking unnecessarily high daily doses of allopurinol and that renal status was not always considered when deciding dosage regimens of allopurinol.