Nifedipine (NF), a calcium channel blocker, is often prescribed in association with other drugs. Therefore, it was interesting to know whether or not, nifedipine, which is metabolized by the cytochrome P-450NF, was able to induce or to inhibit in vivo the activity of the hepatic mixed function oxidase system. The study was conducted in ten young healthy male volunteers receiving 20 mg NF slow release bid for 15 days. Due to the small number of subjects, comparison of the NF pharmacokinetics at dose 1 and 26 failed to show a bimodality in the frequency distribution of its area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC 274.5 to 317.1 ng ml-1 h, NS). Hepatic microsomal autoinduction (t1/2 2.87 to 3.06 h, NS) was not found. No statistically significant effect was seen on the aminopyrine breath test and on the debrisoquine metabolic molar ratio performed before and at the end of the treatment. Unlike what has been suggested by in vitro studies, NF treatment did not modify significantly the urinary excretion of 6 beta-hydroxycortisol (318 to 265 micrograms/d, NS). After the last dose, the total oral clearance of NF was highly correlated with the metabolic clearance to 4-hydroxyantipyrine (r = 0.88; P = 0.005) but the other parameters of antipyrine biotransformation remained unchanged. We conclude that repeated nifedipine oral intake does not modify enzymatic activities of hepatic P-450 cytochromes involved in the biotransformation of antipyrine, aminopyrine, debrisoquine and cortisol.