Various biomedical applications of carbon nanotubes have been proposed in the last few years leading to the emergence of a new field in diagnostics and therapeutics. Most of these applications will involve the administration or implantation of carbon nanotubes and their matrices into patients. The toxicological and pharmacological profile of such carbon nanotube systems developed as nanomedicines will have to be determined prior to any clinical studies undertaken. This review brings together all the toxicological and pharmacological in vivo studies that have been carried out using carbon nanotubes, to offer the first summary of the state-of-the-art in the pharmaceutical development of carbon nanotubes on the road to becoming viable and effective nanomedicines. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.