1. The absorption, distribution and excretion of nilvadipine have been studied in male rats and dogs after an i.v. (1 mg/kg for rats, 0.1 mg/kg for dogs) and oral dose (10 mg/kg for rats, 1 mg/kg for dogs) of 14C-nilvadipine. 2. Nilvadipine was rapidly and almost completely absorbed after oral dosing in both species; oral bioavailability was 4.3% in rats and 37.0% in dogs due to extensive first-pass metabolism. The ratios of unchanged drug to radioactivity in plasma after oral dosing were 0.4-3.5% in rats and 10.4-22.6% in dogs. The half-lives of radioactivity in plasma after i.v. and oral dosing were similar, i.e. 8-10 h in rats, estimated from 2 to 24 h after dosing and 1.5 d in dogs, estimated from 1 to 3 d. In contrast, plasma concentrations of unchanged drug after i.v. dosing declined biexponentially with terminal phase half-lives of 1.2 h in rats and 4.4 h in dogs. 3. After i.v. dosing to rats, radioactivity was rapidly distributed to various tissues, and maintained in high concentrations in the liver and kidneys. In contrast, after oral dosing to rats, radioactivity was distributed mainly in liver and kidneys. 4. With both routes of dosing, urinary excretion of radioactivity was 21-24% dose in rats and 56-61% in dogs, mainly in 24 h. After i.v. dosing to bile duct-cannulated rats, 75% of the radioactive dose was excreted in the bile. Only traces of unchanged drug were excreted in urine and bile.