The pharmacokinetics of the angiotensin II receptor antagonist losartan potassium and its active carboxylic acid metabolite EXP3174 were characterized in 18 healthy male subjects after administration of intravenous losartan, intravenous EXP3174, and oral losartan. In these subjects, the average plasma clearance of losartan was 610 ml/min, and the volume of distribution was 34 L. Renal clearance (70 ml/min) accounted for 12% of plasma clearance. Terminal half-life was 2.1 hours. In contrast, the average plasma clearance of EXP3174 was 47 ml/min, and its volume of distribution was 10 L. Renal clearance was 26 ml/min, which accounted for 55% of plasma clearance; terminal half-life was 6.3 hours. After oral administration of losartan, peak concentrations of losartan were reached in 1 hour. Peak concentrations of EXP3174 were reached in 3 1/2 hours. The area under the plasma concentration-time curve of EXP3174 was about four times that of losartan. The oral bioavailability of losartan tablets was 33%. The low bioavailability was mainly attributable to first-pass metabolism. After intravenous or oral administration of losartan the conversion of losartan to the metabolite EXP3174 was 14%.