Phenylcyclohexyldiethylamine (PCDE) is an analog of phencyclidine with low affinity for the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor that is metabolized to an active monoethyl derivative, phenylcyclohexylethylamine (PCE). In a pharmacokinetic analysis of the ataxia response of rats to i.p. administered PCDE and PCE, ataxia intensity was determined together with plasma and cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of the drugs. The role of PCE as the active metabolite of PCDE was assessed quantitatively by correlating the response with both the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid drug levels. Increased PCE concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid and plasma were associated with increased ataxia response when either PCDE or PCE was the administered drug. However, the concentration-response curves did not superimpose and the curve after PCDE was shifted to the left of that after PCE, suggesting that PCDE was contributing an effect not accountable by PCE concentration. This apparent potentiation must involve an interaction at sites other than the N-methyl-daspartate receptor. In the analysis of the behavior responses, PCDE was found to induce a greater backpedalling response which has been attributed to interaction with dopamine or serotonin systems, suggesting that other transmitter systems may contribute to the overall ataxia response.