Zonisamide (1,2-benzisoxazole-3-methanesulphonamide), a new anticonvulsant, is mainly metabolized to 2-sulphamoylacetylphenol by reduction of the benzisoxazole ring. Recent studies have shown that mammalian liver enzymes are responsible for the reduction of zonisamide. Because intestinal bacteria can also mediate the reduction of xenobiotics, this study was designed to evaluate the role of intestinal bacteria in in-vivo reductive metabolism of zonisamide. Treatment of rats with antibiotics significantly reduced the urinary and faecal excretion of 2-sulphamoylacetylphenol after oral administration of zonisamide. Re-contamination of the antibiotic-treated rats with microflora restored the excretion of the metabolite. The caecal contents of the control rats had significant zonisamide reductase activity, whereas little or no zonisamide reductase activity was observed with the caecal contents of the antibiotic-treated rats. Eight pure strains of intestinal bacteria were tested for zonisamide reductase activity and the highest was observed in Clostridium sporogenes. We concluded that intestinal bacteria play a major role in the reductive metabolism of zonisamide to 2-sulphamoylacetylphenol in-vivo.