Previous reports have suggested that tachycardia alone can increase the rate of myocardial uptake of some drugs. As part of a systematic study of the determinants of the myocardial uptake and effects of drugs in critical illness, the effect of tachycardia induced by intracardiac pacing on the myocardial disposition and effects of lidocaine, verapamil, and thiopental were studied in chronically instrumented sheep. For each drug, seven sheep received either 100 mg of lidocaine, 10 mg of verapamil, or 750 mg of thiopental over 2 min in unpaced and paced (140 beats/min) states on separate occasions and in random order. Arterial and coronary sinus (effluent from the heart) blood samples were taken at regular intervals for 30 min, and the maximum rate of change of left ventricular pressure (LV dP/dtmax) was measured as an index of myocardial contractility. There were no differences between unpaced and paced studies in the time courses of arterial and coronary sinus concentrations, or the time-courses of myocardial contractility and blood flow, after bolus iv injections of these drugs. Tachycardia alone does not appear to influence the myocardial kinetics or dynamics of lipophilic drugs that can rapidly diffuse into the heart.