1. The disposition of valsartan, a potent angiotensin II receptor antagonist, was investigated in six healthy male volunteers. They each received a single oral dose of 80 mg of a 14C-labelled preparation as a neutral buffered solution. 2. Peak concentrations of radioactivity and valsartan in plasma measured 1 h after dosing showed rapid onset of absorption. The results of this study combined with other available data indicate that at least 51% of the dose was absorbed. 3. Valsartan was the predominant radioactive compound in plasma. Elimination of valsartan and radioactivity was fast and multiexponential. beta-Half-lives of 6 +/- 1 h were observed. In a terminal elimination phase, low radioactivity levels decreased with a half-life of 81 +/- 33 h. A minor, pharmacologically inactive metabolite (valeryl-4-hydroxy-valsartan; M1) was detected in the plasma at time points later than 2 h after dosing, representing approximately 11% of the AUC(24 h) of plasma radioactivity. 4. The bulk of the dose was excreted within 4 days. The total excretion within 7 days amounted to 99 +/- 1% of dose. Faecal excretion was predominant (86 +/- 5% of dose). Valsartan was largely excreted unchanged (81 +/- 5% of the dose in the excreta). The predominant clearance mechanism appeared to be direct elimination via bile. 5. An inactive metabolite, M1, was formed by oxidative biotransformation and accounted for 9 +/- 3% of the dose in the excreta.