Metronidazole is now being used with increasing frequency for various infectious conditions in patients with renal failure. It is commonly administered to septic patients who have developed acute renal failure requiring hemodialysis. The hemodialysis clearances of metronidazole and its metabolites were evaluated in nine renal failure patients on maintenance hemodialysis. The mean +/- standard deviation clearance and the extraction ratio were 106.9 +/- 16.3 ml/min and 0.65 +/- 0.08, respectively, when regenerated cellulose dialysis membrane was used. The clearance and the extraction ratio with the use of cuprophan membrane were 72.1 +/- 17.3 ml/min and 0.44 +/- 0.12, respectively. The clearances and extraction ratios for the metabolites were similar to those of the parent drug. For both metronidazole and the hydroxy metabolite, the clearance and the extraction ratio demonstrated a statistically significant difference between the regenerated cellulose membrane and the cuprophan membrane. In summary, metronidazole and its metabolites were found to be highly dialyzable with different clearances depending on the specific type of membrane used. However, owing to the relatively wide therapeutic index of the drug, dosage supplementation may be necessary only in seriously ill patients to ensure therapeutic effect.