Substance P (SP), neurotensin (NT), bombesin (BB), serotonin (5HT), and carbamylcholine (CCH) transiently increase electrogenic anion secretion in chinchilla and chicken ileum. SP and CCH also transiently inhibit amiloride-sensitive Na/H exchange in isolated chicken enterocytes. Loperamide (LP) inhibits the short-circuit responses caused by SP, NT, and BB, but not those caused by CCH, 5HT, Ca ionophore, or cyclic nucleotides. Similarly, LP inhibits the effects of SP, but not those of CCH, on Na/H exchange. LP inhibition of the SP effects was further studied in isolated chicken enterocytes. CCH and SP transiently increased cytosolic Ca activity by 20-50 nmol/liter, but only the response to SP was inhibited by LP (10-5 M) and by the absence of extracellular Ca. We conclude (a) SP and CCH effects on intestinal electrolyte transport are mediated by increasing enterocyte Ca activity and (b) LP specifically inhibits peptide hormone-activated Ca entry by an opiate receptor-independent mechanism.