The efficacy of pirmenol (a class I antiarrhythmic agent) as a converter of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation was investigated. Forty patients without congestive heart failure or a history of sinus node disorder were randomly allocated to receive either intravenous pirmenol (50-100 mg) or placebo in a double blind trial. In 12 of 20 patients sinus rhythm was restored 2-16 minutes after pirmenol, and in 3 of 20 patients in the control group it returned within one hour. A nodal escape rhythm was seen during sinus slowing in one patient, but in other patients there was no sinus arrest, atrioventricular conduction disturbance, or hypotension. The ventricular rate was slightly increased in patients in whom sinus rhythm was not restored by pirmenol. The results indicate that pirmenol has an antifibrillatory effect on the atria. Sinus rhythm was restored rapidly after intravenous administration. It was well tolerated in patients with atrial fibrillation of recent onset.