The use of selective agonists in both functional and binding studies has provided unequivocal evidence for the existence of three types of tachykinin receptor (NK(1), NK(2) and NK(3)); there is also preliminary evidence for the existence of further subtypes. These results have been confirmed by the development of selective antagonists and by the identification and cloning of three distinct cDNA sequences. All three receptors belong to the superfamily of G protein coupled receptors and are linked to the phosphoinositide transmembrane-signalling pathway. The purpose of this article is to review recent developments in the pharmacology of each receptor with emphasis on the NK(3) type. In particular, the need to use selective agonists and antagonists to identify each receptor type is stressed.