We have studied the intubating conditions in 60 ASA I or II patients, after induction of anaesthesia with propofol 2 mg kg−1, allocated to one of the following three groups: group 1, remifentanil 1 μg kg−1; group 2, remifentanil 1 μg kg−1 and lignocaine 1 mg kg−1; group 3, remifentanil 2 μg kg−1. No neuromuscular blocking agents were administered. Intubating conditions were assessed using a four-point scoring system based on ease of laryngoscopy, jaw relaxation, position of vocal cords, degree of coughing and limb movement. Overall intubating conditions were acceptable in 35% of patients in group 1, 100% of patients in group 2 and 85% of patients in group 3. There was a statistically significant drop in blood pressure after induction in groups 2 and 3, and two patients in each group required ephedrine 6 mg i.v. boluses, as dictated by the intervention criteria (mean arterial pressure fall >25% from baseline). Similarly, there was a drop in heart rate in groups 2 and 3, but this did not reach statistical or clinical significance, and no patient required atropine.