We have shown previously that the conventional experimental protocol (CEP) used to characterise mechanism-based enzyme inhibition (MBI) of drug metabolism in vitro may introduce substantial bias in estimates of the relevant kinetic parameters. The aim of this study was to develop and assess, by computer simulation, an alternative, mechanistically-based experimental protocol (MEP). This protocol comprises three parts viz. assessment of the metabolism of the mechanism-based enzyme inactivator (MBEI), of its ability to participate in competitive inhibition and its ability to cause time-dependent inhibition. Thus, values of the maximum inactivation rate constant (k(inact)), the inactivator concentration associated with half-maximal rate of inactivation (K(I)), the partition ration (r), and the reversible inhibition constant (K(i)) of the MBEI are determined by nonlinear optimization of the experimental data using a model that allows for metabolism of both probe substrate and MBEI, the time-course of inactivation of the enzyme, and reversible inhibition of the metabolism of both probe substrate and MBEI. Sensitivity analysis is used to estimate the degree of confidence in the final parameter values. Virtual experiments using the MEP and the CEP were simulated, applying starting kinetic parameters reported for 16 known MBEIs. In the presence of simulated experimental error (5% CV), the MEP recovered accurate estimates of the kinetic values for all compounds, while estimates using the CEP were less accurate and less precise. The MEP promises to improve consistency in the determination of in vitro measures of MBI and, thereby, the quantitative assessment of its in vivo consequences.