The kinetic disposition of yohimbine was examined in eight young male subjects following a single oral dose of 10 mg yohimbine hydrochloride. The drug was rapidly absorbed (absorption half-time 0.17 +/- 0.11 h) and rapidly eliminated from the plasma (elimination half-life 0.60 +/- 0.26 h). This clearance of yohimbine from plasma was constant over approximately 10 elimination half-lives, suggesting that distribution into a second pharmacokinetically distinct compartment was not responsible for the rapid decline in plasma yohimbine levels. Urinary excretion and the partitioning of the drug into red blood cells (RBC) was investigated. In the 24 h following oral administration of the drug, virtually no yohimbine was eliminated in the urine (0.35 +/- 0.50% of the administered dose). Furthermore, only 20% of blood-borne yohimbine was located in RBC. These results suggest that yohimbine is eliminated primarily through metabolism since the rapid plasma clearance of yohimbine was not the result of renal elimination or sequestration by RBC.