The pharmacokinetics of thioridazine and its metabolites were studied in 19 healthy male subjects: 6 slow and 13 rapid hydroxylators of debrisoquin. The subjects received a single 25 mg oral dose of thioridazine, and blood samples were collected during 48 hours. Concentrations of thioridazine and metabolites in serum were measured by HPLC. Slow hydroxylators of debrisoquin obtained higher serum levels of thioridazine with a 2.4-fold higher Cmax and a 4.5-fold larger AUC(0-infinity) associated with a twofold longer half-life compared with that of rapid hydroxylators. The side-chain sulphoxide (mesoridazine) and sulphone (sulphoridazine), which are active metabolites, appeared more slowly in serum and had lower Cmax values, but comparable AUC. The thioridazine ring-sulphoxide attained higher Cmax and 3.3-fold higher AUC in slow hydroxylators than in rapid hydroxylators of debrisoquin. Thus the formation of mesoridazine from thioridazine and the 4-hydroxylation of debrisoquin seem to be catalyzed by the same enzyme, whereas the formation of thioridazine ring-sulphoxide is probably formed mainly by another enzyme.