European data on the polymorphic metabolism of debrisoquine, sparteine, dextromethorphan and mephenytoin have been collected. No significant difference in phenotype frequencies was found between the separate series for debrisoquine, sparteine and dextromethorphan, which supports the claim that these probe drugs reflect the same enzyme polymorphism. The mean frequency of the phenotype slow debrisoquine metaboliser was 7.65% based on 5005 determinations. The overall mean reflecting all three drugs and 8764 determinations was 7.40%. This is consistent with a gene frequency of 0.27 (95% confidence interval 0.26-0.28). The overall mean of the phenotype slow metaboliser of mephenytoin was 3.52% corresponding to a gene frequency of 0.19 (confidence interval 0.17-0.20). The incidence of slow metabolism of debrisoquine and possibly also of S-mephenytoin was homogeneous in the samples from European populations. This is of considerable interest as interethnic differences are now being found both in the phenotypic characters as well as the genotypes of polymorphic drug oxidation.