The efficacy and tolerability of oral artesunate for the treatment of urinary schistosomiasis was assessed among schoolchildren aged 5-18 years in Adim community, Nigeria. Overall, 500 children, randomly selected from those attending the Presbyterian primary school, were each invited to provide two consecutive urine samples. Using standard parasitological procedures, Schistosoma haematobium ova were found in the samples from 145 (29.0%) of the subjects. Most (87) of the infected subjects were then treated orally with artesunate, using two doses, each of 6 mg/kg, given 2 weeks apart. When the treated children were re-examined 4 weeks after the second dose of artesunate, 61 (70.1%) appeared egg-negative and were therefore considered cured. Post-treatment, the geometric mean egg count (GMEC) for the treated subjects who were not cured was significantly lower than the pre-treatment GMEC for all the treated subjects, with log10[(eggs/10 ml urine) + 1] values of 0.9 v. 1.75 (t = 4.45; P < 0.05). The cure 'rate' for the subjects aged > or = 10 years was slightly higher than that among the younger subjects. It was lowest for the heavier subjects (70% for those weighing 41-50 kg) and highest (79%) for the subjects who weighed 31-40 kg. The artesunate was well tolerated. This observation of a therapeutic effect of artesunate against S. haematobium in Nigeria confirms recent observations from Senegal. In the Adim community at least, it would be more cost-effective to treat urinary schistosomiasis with artesunate than with praziquantel. The wide-spread use of artesunate against schistosomiasis has to be considered carefully, however, if it is not to compromise the efficacy of the drug as an antimalarial, by increasing the risk of resistance developing in local Plasmodium.