The pharmacokinetics of bretylium tosylate were investigated in eight male Charles River rats. Each animal received an intravenous dose (10 mg/kg) of [14C)bretylium tosylate. Serial blood samples, urine, and feces were collected for up to 72 hr. Bretylium concentrations in plasma and amounts excreted in urine and feces were determined by scintillation counting. On the average, 88 and 95% of the dose were recovered in urine and feces in 24 and 72 hr, respectively. Urinary recovery accounted for 65.6 of the dose while 29.7% was excreted in the feces. Bretylium concentrations in plasma declined triexponentially and were fitted to a three-compartment open model. Bretylium has a very high apparent volume of distribution (15 liters/kg), and its beta half-life averaged 5.5 hr. Mean values of the apparent volume of the central compartment, plasma clearance, renal clearance, and excretion rate constants of bretylium in rats were 1 liter/kg, 1.93 liters/hr/kg, 1.27 liters/hr/kg, and 1.24 hr-1, respectively. The results indicate that: (a) bretylium is strongly bound to the tissues and is eliminated by active urinary secretion and by biliary excretion in rats, and (b) there are strong similarities between the pharmacokinetics of bretylium in humans and rats and that this animal model might be suitable for interaction studies with other drugs.