The aim of this study was to investigate the optimum dosage of erdosteine to ameliorate cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Three different doses of erdosteine at 25, 50 and 75 mg kg(-1) were studied in rats. Intraperitoneal administration of 7 mg kg(-1) cisplatin led to acute renal failure, as indicated by kidney histology and increases in plasma creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels. At 5 days after cisplatin injection the BUN level was increased significantly from 15.1 +/- 4.3 to 126.7 +/- 152.6 mg dl(-1) and plasma creatinine levels increased from 0.37 +/- 0.005 to 1.68 +/- 1.9 mg dl(-1). When the rats were administered 50 and 75 mg kg(-1) erdosteine 24 h before cisplatin injection that was continued until sacrifice (total of 6 days), the BUN and creatinine levels remained similar to control levels and the grade of histology was similar. Erdosteine at doses of 50 and 75 mg kg(-1) ameliorates cisplatin-induced renal failure. The optimum dose of erdosteine may be 50 mg kg(-1) in this study. Copyright 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.