Eight hypertensive patients on chronic captopril treatment were studied: blood pressure, plasma converting enzyme activity (pCEA) and various components of plasma renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system were measured repeatedly, immediately before and up to 7 hours after the usual morning dose of captopril in 5 patients, or a matching placebo in 3 patients. In the patients, receiving a placebo no significant changes were observed over a 7 hour period in pCEA, plasma rénin activity (PRA), plasma angiotensin II (ANG II) plasma aldosterone (PAC) and blood pressure. In patients receive captopril (200 mg) pCEA rapidly decreased, reaching after 2 hours a minimum, corresponding to nearly 20 per cent of its reference value. Thereafter pCEA increased and after 7 hours remained only slightly depressed. Within the first hour after captopril intake a small but significant decrease of ANG II and PAC was observed, while PRA and blood pressure remained unchanged throughout the study period. A continuous low pCEA level is therefore not necessary to achieve a sustained blood pressure lowering effect during chronic captopril treatment.