The objective of this study was to gather first information on the time course of plasma concentrations and urinary excretion of the antiprotozoal nitazoxanide (N) and to identify potential metabolites in healthy subjects after a single oral dose of 500 mg of nitazoxanide. The clinical trial was conducted as an open single oral dose study in 6 healthy male subjects. After a standardized continental breakfast the subjects took a single oral dose of 500 mg nitazoxanide (coated tablet) with 100 ml tap water. The plasma concentration and the urinary excretion of nitazoxanide (N), desacetyl-nitazoxanide (DN), aminonitrothiazole (ANT), acetylsalicylate (AS), salicylate (S), gentisate (G) and salicylurate (SU) were monitored up to 72 h after administration. The only measurable species in plasma was DN, which reached a Cmax of 1.9 mg/l (range 1.1-2.5) 2-6 h after dosing, and an AUC of 3.9-11.3 mg x h/l. Its terminal half-life ranged from 1.03 to 1.6 h. DN was extensively bound to plasma proteins (> 97.5%). Only 8% of the dose was recovered in the urine, in the form of DN (5%), SU (3%), and traces of ANT (0.1%). In vitro N was very rapidly hydrolyzed to DN by plasma esterases.