Single doses of oral and intravenous furosemide were given to 8 healthy male volunteers (40 mg) and 11 patients with renal failure maintained on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) (80 mg). In the volunteers, absorption was variable. Only one half of the intravenous dose and one third of the oral dose was available for renal pharmacological action as judged by the urinary recovery. In the patients, absorption was also variable and was markedly delayed (tmax 128 vs 90 min) but more complete (bioavailability 70.1 vs 53.6%). The differences between the two groups were not significant, however (95% C.I.: -90 to 30 and -40.4 to 7.5 respectively). The mean elimination half-life was significantly longer in the patients following both the oral (228 vs 65.1 min) and intravenous dose (195 vs 60.3 min). The total body clearance of furosemide in the volunteers was 138 ml x min(-1) and this was much lower in the CAPD patients (61.9 ml x min(-1)) in whom the renal clearance was negligible. Although there were trends indicating differences in absorption between the two groups, the significant differences in furosemide disposition observed in CAPD patients were due to renal failure.