Molsidomine is a prodrug for the formation of nitric oxide (NO). Its pharmacokinetics are characterised by rapid absorption and hydrolysis, taking a short time to achieve maximal systemic concentrations of both the parent compound and its active metabolite, SIN-1. The time to peak plasma drug concentration (tmax) is 1 to 2 hours. The bioavailability of the parent compound after oral administration in tablet form is 44 to 59%, but further metabolism to release NO and form polar metabolites is rapid; the half-life (t-1/2) of SIN-1 is 1 to 2 hours. Urinary excretion accounts for more than 90% of the part of the administered dose of molsidomine which is not excreted unchanged. Protein binding of the parent compound is very low (3 to 11%) and its volume of distribution (Vd) corresponds to the range of bodyweight. Single-dose studies (1, 2 and 4 mg) have revealed linear pharmacokinetics, and multiple dose studies in healthy individuals (2 mg 3 times daily for 7 days) and coronary artery disease (CAD) patients (4 mg 4 times daily for 4 weeks) do not show any accumulation of the drug. A study in young and elderly individuals indicated that the first-pass effect is decreased and t-1/2 prolonged with age, resulting in an increased area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) of molsidomine and SIN-1. In patients with liver disease and congestive heart failure similar changes were observed, but much less so in patients with CAD. Clearance was also impaired in patients with liver disease, but the pharmacokinetics of molsidomine were not markedly altered by impaired renal function. In general, due to a large therapeutic dose range, dosage adjustments are not required on the basis of clinical experience. In certain patients a lower starting dose may be recommended, such as in those with impaired liver or kidney function, in congestive heart failure or in the presence of concomitant treatment with other vasoactive compounds. A linear dose-effect relationship is observed with counterclockwise hysteresis, i.e. a greater effect associated with the decrease of plasma concentrations than during their increase, which may be at least partly due to the metabolic delay in the formation of NO from SIN-1. Accordingly, the duration of action of molsidomine is longer than would be expected on the basis of the elimination half-life. The pharmacokinetics of molsidomine support the recommended dosages for use in angina pectoris.