We established a mechanism-based inhibition cocktail-substrate assay system using human liver microsomes and drug-probe substrates that enabled simultaneous estimation of the inactivation of main cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, CYP2C9, CYP2D6, and CYP3A, in drug metabolism. The inactivation kinetic parameters of typical mechanism-based inhibitors, tienilic acid, paroxetine, and erythromycin, for each enzyme in the cocktail-substrate assay were almost in agreement with the values obtained in the single-substrate assay. Using this system, we confirmed that multiple CYP inactivation caused by mechanism-based inhibitors such as isoniazid and amiodarone could be detected simultaneously. Mechanism-based inhibition potency can be estimated by the determination of the observed inactivation rate constants (k(obs)) at a single concentration of test compounds because the k(obs) of eleven CYP3A inactivators at 10 microM in the assay system nearly corresponded to k(inact)/K(I) values, an indicator of a compound's propensity to alter the activity of a CYP in vivo (R(2) = 0.97). Therefore, this cocktail-substrate assay is considered to be a powerful tool for evaluating mechanism-based inhibition at an early stage of drug development.