Ritonavir diminishes methadone plasma concentrations, an effect attributed to CYP3A induction, but the actual mechanisms are unknown. We determined short-term (2-day) and steady-state (2-week) ritonavir effects on intestinal and hepatic CYP3A4/5 (probed with intravenous (IV) and oral alfentanil (ALF) and with miosis) and P-glycoprotein (P-gp) (fexofenadine), and on methadone pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in healthy volunteers. Acute ritonavir increased the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC)(0-infinity)/dose ratio (ritonavir/control) for oral ALF 25-fold. Steady-state ritonavir increased the AUC(0-Infinity)/dose ratio for IV and oral ALF 4- and 10-fold, respectively; reduced hepatic extraction (from 0.26 to 0.07) and intestinal extraction (from 0.51 to 0); and increased bioavailability (from 37 to 95%). Acute ritonavir inhibits first-pass CYP3A > 96%. Chronic ritonavir inhibits hepatic CYP3A (> 70%) and first-pass CYP3A (> 90%). Acute and steady-state ritonavir increased the fexofenadine AUC(0-infinity) 2.8- and 1.4-fold, respectively, suggesting P-gp inhibition. Steady-state compared with acute ritonavir caused mild apparent induction of P-gp and hepatic CYP3A, but net inhibition still predominated. Ritonavir inhibited both intestinal and hepatic CYP3A and drug transport. ALF miosis noninvasively determined CYP3A inhibition by ritonavir.