The purpose of this research was to improve the solubility and therefore dissolution and bioavailability of triamterene, a poorly water soluble diuretic, by complexation with beta-cyclodextrin. Triamterene has been reported to show low bioavailability after oral administration, with wide intersubject variation. This study presents the formulation of solid dispersions of triamterene with beta-cyclodextrin--by cogrinding, kneading, and coevaporation, using low pH conditions--and their characterization, evaluation of improvement in dissolution profiles, and in vivo advantage. Phase solubility studies indicated complex with possible stoichiometry of 1:1 and a stability constant of 167.67 M(-1). The solid dispersions were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, x-ray diffraction, and differential scanning calorimetry studies. The characterization studies confirmed inclusion of the phenyl ring of triamterene within the nonpolar cavity of beta-cyclodextrin in the coevaporate. Remarkable improvement in in vitro drug release profiles in 0.1N HCl and pH 6.8 phosphate buffer was observed with all dispersions, especially the coevaporate. The coevaporate, when administered orally in rats, also exhibited improved in vivo activity, as measured by net sodium ion excretion, as compared with triamterene powder. Thus, coevaporation of the drug and beta-cyclodextrin from acidified alcohol provide the optimum condition for inclusion complexation to give a binary system with remarkable improvement in in vitro drug release profile and in vivo performance.