Serum and urinary levels of Cinoxacin and pipemidic acid were determined at 7-day intervals in the same 10 healthy volunteers after a single oral dose of respectively 500 and 400 mg of the drugs. Comparison of results shows that Cinoxacin was absorbed faster (absorption half-life, ta 1/2cin = 0.25 h) than pipemidic acid (ta 1/2pip = 0.37 h) and distributed in a smaller apparent volume (AVDcin = 23.5 1/1.73 m2; AVDpip = 60.1 1/1.73 m2). Biological half-lives were identical (tb 1/2cin = 2.10 h; tb 1/2pip = 2.15 h). On the other hand, serum levels for Cinoxacin at 1, 2 and 4 hours (8.1 +/- 1.5 micrograms/ml, 10.6 +/- 1.5 micrograms/ml, 5.6 +/- 1.3 micrograms/ml respectively) were higher than those for pipemidic acid (3.3 +/- 0.3 micrograms/ml, 3.4 +/- 0.5 micrograms/ml, 2.1 +/- 0.5 micrograms/ml respectively). Urinary excretion of the two derivatives during the 12 hours following their administration was similar (Ucin0-12h = 86%; Upip0-12h = 83%). Mean urinary concentrations were particularly high, still attaining respectively 90 +/- 29 micrograms/ml and 131 +/- 38 micrograms/ml in samples collected between the 9th and the 12th hours; these levels were well above the M.I.C. for the Gram-negative organisms included within the spectrum of activity of these two quinolones. In addition, predictive calculations of serum levels reached after multiple dosing indicate that at an administration rate of 500 mg every 6 or preferably every 4 hours, Cinoxacin concentrations should be sufficiently high to be of interest in the treatment of systemic infections by sensitive organisms.