The aim of this study was to evaluate the CYP2D6 inhibitory effects of four selective rerotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Thirty-one healthy subjects were phenotyped as extensive metabolizers using the dextromethorphan/dextrorphan (DM/DX) urinary ratio as a marker for CYP2D6 activity before and after 8 days of administration of fluoxetine 60 mg (loading dose strategy), fluvoxamine 100 mg, paroxetine 20 mg, or sertraline 100 mg in a parallel-group design. Statistical analysis was performed on log-transformed DM/DX ratios because of variability within and between treatment groups. DM/DX ratios before (DM/DX(BL)) and after (DM/DX(SSRI)) were compared within and between the four SSRI groups. DM/DX(BL) ratios were not significantly different between the four SSRI treatment groups. Comparing within groups, significant differences between DM/DX(BL) and DM/DX(SSRI) were found for the fluoxetine (p < 0.001; ratio values, 0.020 vs. 0.364) and paroxetine (p = 0.0005, ratio values 0.029 vs. 1.085) but not for the fluvoxamine or sertraline groups. Comparing between groups, significant differences in DM/DX(SSRI) ratios were found for fluoxetine versus sertraline (p = 0.0019, DM/DX = 0.364 vs. 0.057), fluoxetine versus fluvoxamine (p < 0.0001, DM/DX = 0.364 vs. 0.019), paroxetine versus sertraline (p = 0.0026, DM/DX = 1.085 vs. 0.057), and paroxetine versus fluvoxamine (p < 0.0001, DM/DX = 1.085 vs. 0.019). No significant differences were noted between the two potent CYP2D6 inhibitors, fluoxetine and paroxetine, or the two weakest inhibitors, fluvoxamine and sertraline. Five subjects in the fluoxetine and four subjects in the paroxetine groups changed to poor metabolizer phenotype (DM/DX > or = 0.3) after treatment. Although CYP2D6 inhibitory effects of fluvoxamine and sertraline did not yield significant differences from baseline, some subjects exhibited DM/DX ratio increases of 150 to 200%. One paroxetine-treated subject did not exhibit any CYP2D6 inhibition. SSRI dose and plasma concentration may be correlated with the extent of CYP2D6 inhibition and should be further investigated.