Auranofin, 2,3,4,6-tetra-O-acetyl-1-thio-beta-D-glucopyranosato-S-(triethy lphosphine)- gold(I), an experimental antiarthritis pharmaceutical, metabolized in contact with hamster or rat gut wall to yield the deacetylated form of the drug. This product, 1-thio-beta-D-glucopyranosato-S-(triethylphosphine)gold(I), passed through hamster or rat intestinal wall in an everted gut experiment. The metabolite was separated by high-performance liquid chromatography and characterized by retention time, chemical reactivity to yield a known product, and comparison to a synthetic sample of the metabolite.