The effect of the paclitaxel vehicle Cremophor on the pharmacokinetics of doxorubicin and doxorubicinol was studied in two groups of mice given intravenously either 2.5 ml kg-1 Cremophor or saline followed 5 min later by 10 mg kg-1 doxorubicin. In each group three mice were sacrificed at ten time points and doxorubicin and doxorubicinol were measured in plasma by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). With Cremophor present, doxorubicin AUC increased from 1420+/-440 to 2770+/-660 ng h ml(-1) (P<0.05) and doxorubicinol AUC increased from 130+/-76 to 320+/-88 ng h ml(-1) (p<0.05). Neither the terminal elimination half-lives nor the doxorubicinol-doxorubicin AUC ratio changed in the presence of Cremophor, suggesting a lack of a direct effect on drug metabolism. The possibility exists the Cremophor may change the pharmacokinetics of both paclitaxel and other drugs given concurrently.