The peripheral and central effects of some non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, indomethacin, paracetamol and phenacetin were studied by comparing their intraplantar and intracerebroventricular effects on hyperalgesia induced by carrageenin injected into the rat paw. Hyperalgesia was measured by a modification of the Randall-Selitto test. The agents tested had antialgesic effects when given by any route. Their intraventricular administration enhanced the antialgesic effect of anti-inflammatory drugs administered into the paw. Previous treatment of one paw with carrageenin reduced the oedema caused by a second injection of carrageenin in the contralateral paw. In contrast, it had no effect on the intensity of hyperalgesia but shortened the time necessary for it to reach a plateau. Administration of a prostaglandin antagonist (SC-19220) in the cerebral ventricles, in the rat paw or in both sites, significantly inhibited the hyperalgesia evoked by carrageenin. The maximal hyperalgesic effect of intraplantar injections of prostaglandin E2 could be further enhanced by its cerebroventricular administration. It was suggested that carrageenin hyperalgesia has a peripheral and a central component and that the cyclo-oxygenase inhibitors used may exert an antialgesic effect by preventing the hyperalgesia induced by a peripheral and/or central release of prostaglandins.