The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the novel free radical scavenger caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) on extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) induced renal impairment. The study was performed using 30 rabbits which were divided into two groups, each exposed to 3,000 shock waves at 18 kV: (1) control group, (2) ESWL+CAPE treated group. Malodialdehyde (MDA), urine N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase (NAG) activity, uric acid and white cell counts were used as markers of oxidative stress. Following shock wave exposure there was a significant rise in MDA, NAG and uric acid and white cell counts. CAPE reduced the rise in MDA, NAG, uric acid and white cell counts. Thus CAPE treatment to a great extent prevented the induction of these renal changes. Our results suggest that the antioxidant capacity of the kidney tissue was reduced after ESWL treatment and that the tissue was exposed to oxidant stress. We conclude that CAPE treatment provided significant protection against ESWL induced free radical damage.