In six patients with end-stage renal disease, a single bolus of imipenem-cilastatin (500 mg each) was given either intravenously or intraperitoneally in a randomized crossover protocol such that each patient received the drug by both routes at a 2- to 3-week interval. Drug levels in plasma and the peritoneal dialysis fluid were analyzed at frequent intervals, and various pharmacokinetic variables were calculated for a one-compartment open model. Data obtained in the present study suggest that while no significant difference in peak plasma levels or volume of distribution were noted, the following variables were significantly different for imipenem as compared with cilastatin: elimination half-life, total plasma clearance, area under the concentration-time curve, and percent drug excretion in the peritoneal dialysis fluid. The elimination half-life of imipenem (3.28 h) or cilastatin (8.84 h) in our patients was in the same range as observed in patients with minimal renal function undergoing hemodialysis. The dose of imipenem-cilastatin should be reduced appropriately in patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing peritoneal dialysis.