The new mefenamic acid-alginate bead formulation prepared by ionotropic gelation method using 3 x 2(2) factorial design has shown adequate controlled release properties in vitro. In the present Study, the irritation effects of mefenamic acid (MA), a prominent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAI) drug, were evaluated on rat gastric and duodenal mucosa when suspended in 0.5% (w/v) sodiumcarboxymethyl-cellulose (NaCMC) solution and loaded in alginate beads. Wistar albino rats weighing 200 +/- 50 g were used during in vivo animal studies. In this work, biodegradable controlled release MA beads and free MA were evaluated according to the degree of gastric or duodenal damage following oral administration in rats. The gastric and duodenal mucosa was examined for any haemorrhagic changes. Formulation code A10 showing both Case II transport and zero order drug release and t(50) % value of 5.22 h was chosen for in vivo animal studies. For in vivo trials, free MA (100 mgkg(-1)), blank and MA (100 mgkg(-1)) loaded alginate beads (formulation code A 10) were suspended in 0.5% (w/v) NaCMC solution and each group was given to six rats orally by gavage. NaCMC solution was used as a control in experimental studies. In vivo data showed that the administration of MA in alginate beads prevented the gastric lesions.