Paroxetine is well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, and appears to undergo first-pass metabolism which is partially saturable. Consistent with its lipophilic amine character, paroxetine is extensively distributed into tissues. Its plasma protein binding at therapeutically relevant concentrations is about 95%. Paroxetine is eliminated by metabolism involving oxidation, methylation, and conjugation. All of these factors lead to wide interindividual variation in the pharmacokinetics of paroxetine. Renal clearance of the compound is negligible. The major metabolites of paroxetine are conjugates which do not compromise its selectivity nor contribute to the clinical response. Ascending single-dose studies reveal that the pharmacokinetics of paroxetine are non-linear to a limited extent in most subjects and to a marked degree in only a few. Also, steady-state pharmacokinetic parameters are not predictable from single-dose data. In many subjects, daily administration of 20-50 mg of paroxetine leads to little or no disproportionality in plasma levels with dose, although in a few subjects this phenomenon is evident. Steady-state plasma concentrations are generally achieved within 7 to 14 days. The terminal half-life is about one day, although there is a wide intersubject variability (e.g. with 30 mg, a range of 7-65 hours was observed in a group of 28 healthy young subjects). In elderly subjects there is wide interindividual variation in steady-state pharmacokinetic parameters, with statistically significantly higher plasma concentrations and slower elimination than in younger subjects, although there is a large degree of overlap in the ranges of corresponding parameters. In severe renal impairment higher plasma levels of paroxetine are achieved than in healthy individuals after single dose. In moderate hepatic impairment the pharmacokinetics after single doses are similar to those of normal subjects. Paroxetine is not a general inducer or inhibitor of hepatic oxidation processes, and has little or no effect on the pharmacokinetics of other drugs examined. Its metabolism and pharmacokinetics are to some degree affected by the induction or inhibition of drug metabolizing enzyme(s). From a pharmacokinetic standpoint, drug interactions involving paroxetine are considered unlikely to be a frequent occurrence. Data available have failed to reveal any correlation between plasma concentrations of paroxetine and its clinical effects (either efficacy or adverse events).