Free radical mechanisms have been implicated in diabetic microangiopathy. Agents that scavenge free radicals may be beneficial. We assessed the scavenging ability of two sulphonylureas, gliclazide and glibenclamide, in vitro. The assay which employs o-dianisidine sensitised by riboflavin can be used to distinguish between superoxide scavengers and general scavengers. The former species lead to an augmentation while the latter has an inhibitory effect. The drugs were added in final concentrations of 0.5, 1.0, 2.5 and 5.0 µgrams/ml. The percentage inhibition (mean ± S.D.) for each concentration of gliclazide respectively was 11.0 ± 2.5%, 20.8 ± 2.9%, 31.4 ± 2.2% and 47.2 ± 0.8%. Glibenclamide had no scavenging effects. The results demonstrate that gliclazide is a powerful general free radical scavenger in vitro. We postulate that this scavenging quality of gliclazide may be important in diabetes.