The effects of nonivamide on the cardiovascular system were examined and compared with the effects of substance P (SP) in rats. Intravenous (i.v.) injection (10 micrograms/kg) of nonivamide produced triphasic pressure responses (A; depressor, B; pressor, and C; depressor) and biphasic bradycardia responses (f; fast bradycardia and s; slow bradycardia). IA injection (10 micrograms/kg) into the epigastric artery caused hypotension and mild tachycardia. The effects of atropine, vagotomy, SP antagonist, propranolol, and clonidine on these responses were examined and mechanisms responsible for the nonivamide-induced responses are postulated as follows. A and f are due to vagal reflex resulting from the excitation of afferent sensory neurons in the heart and are parasympathetic efferent effects from the nucleus solitarius. B is involved in sympathetic activation, partly caused by the release of SP in the spinal cord. C is due to the vasodilatory effect of SP released from perivascular stores. s was diminished by vagotomy and is due to the bradycardiac effect of acetylcholine, released by SP, from cardiac stores. The activation of the autonomic system is inhibited by clonidine and involved in the wide spectrum of nonivamide-induced cardiovascular effects.