In an open crossover study, the pharmacokinetics of three-day and five-day regimens of azithromycin were compared. Fourteen healthy volunteers received oral doses of azithromycin once-daily, over three days (500 mg/day) and over five days (500 mg on day 1, followed by 250 mg/day on days 2-5). Plasma and urine concentrations were determined by HPLC. Azithromycin was found to be absorbed rapidly on the first and the last days of both regimens, with mean Tmax ranging between 2.5-3 h. On day 1, peak plasma concentrations were 0.37 mg/L and 0.31 mg/L, respectively, with three- and five-day regimens, and increased to 0.42 mg/L on the last day of the three-day regimen, but decreased to 0.18 mg/L at the end of the five-day regimen. Similarly, the AUC0-24 increased from 1.30 to 1.88 h.mg/L during the three-day regimen, and decreased from 1.24 to 0.80 h.mg/L on the five-day regimen. After absorption, azithromycin was distributed rapidly; the respective half-lives were 2.4 h and 2.2 h with the three-day and five-day regimens. Thereafter, a polyphasic decline of plasma concentrations was observed; the average half-lives between 8-48 h after administration were 27.9 h (three-day regimen) and 35.8 h (five-day regimen). In urine, 5.5% (three-day regimen) and 4.6% (five-day regimen) of the total dose was found as unchanged azithromycin over a 12-day period. The observed pharmacokinetics of azithromycin with both regimens conformed with the known pharmacokinetic behaviour of the drug. The treatment-related differences seen in the plasma concentrations were as expected from the different dosage schedules.