The single-dose disposition kinetics of orbifloxacin were determined in clinically normal rabbits (n=6) after intravenous (i.v.), subcutaneous (s.c.) and intramuscular (i.m.) administration of 5 mg/kg bodyweight. Orbifloxacin concentrations were determined by high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. Minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) assay of orbifloxacin against 30 strains of Staphylococcus aureus from several European countries was performed in order to compute pharmacodynamic surrogate markers. The concentration-time data were analysed by compartmental and noncompartmental kinetic methods. Steady-state volume of distribution (V(ss)) and total body clearance (Cl) of orbifloxacin after i.v. administration were estimated to be 1.71+/-0.38 L/kg and 0.91+/-0.20 L/h x kg, respectively. Following s.c. and i.m. administration orbifloxacin achieved maximum plasma concentrations of 2.95+/-0.82 and 3.24+/-1.33 mg/L at 0.67+/-0.20 and 0.65+/-0.12 h, respectively. The absolute bio-availabilities after s.c. and i.m. routes were 110.67+/-11.02% and 109.87+/-8.36%, respectively. Orbifloxacin showed a favourable pharmacokinetic profile in rabbits. However, on account of the low AUC/MIC and C(max)/MIC indices obtained, its use by i.m. and s.c. routes against the S. aureus strains assayed in this study cannot be recommended given the risk of selection of resistant populations.