Polyisohexylcyanoacrylate nanocapsules containing cyclosporin were prepared by mixing in a 1:2 ratio an oil/ethanol solution of monomer and drug with an aqueous phase. Drug nanoencapsulation rate was controlled by its partition coefficient between the inner (organic) and outer (aqueous) phases. Thus highest encapsulation yields (88 per cent) were achieved by reducing cyclosporin solubility in the aqueous phase, i.e. by reducing ethanol concentration under reduced pressure, achieving a 3-fold volume reduction. Due to the relative insolubility of cyclosporin in water, no drug was released from the nanocapsules during storage in this injectable vehicle. Upon a 1/5 dilution in human plasma at 37 degrees C in vitro around 40 per cent of the initially encapsulated cyclosporin diffused quickly out of the capsules and an equilibrium was reached, the drug being most likely dissolved in the fatty compartment of the plasma such as lipoproteins, etc. This release mechanism is different from plain polymeric nanoparticles. Indeed, in this case the drug was released in two phases: an initial burst (around 60 per cent) of adsorbed drug as a result of the dilution, followed by a slow release (around 20 per cent over 3 h) which is likely to result from the progressive enzymatic erosion of the polymer. The initial burst was markedly more pronounced (around 80 per cent) when nanoparticle suspensions were evaporated to 1/3 of their initial volume under reduced pressure. Finally, experiments performed at 0 degree C allowed a reduction of the fraction released immediately from both types of nanospheres, probably because of a reduced solubility in plasma. In the case of nanoparticles the second phase of slow release is also inhibited at 0 degree C, in agreement with an enzymatically controlled release mechanism.