The cardiovascular effects of various antidepressant drugs including paroxetine, imipramine, amitriptyline and clomipramine, administered intravenously, have been assessed. Paroxetine, imipramine, amitriptyline or clomipramine potentiated the response to norepinephrine (0.1 microgram/kg, i.v.) on systemic blood pressure, while paroxetine, imipramine and amitriptyline weakened the response to tyramine (30 micrograms/kg, i.v.). A marked decrease in systemic blood pressure was observed after large doses of each drug (3 and 10 mg/kg of paroxetine; 1-10 mg/kg of imipramine, amitriptyline or clomipramine); and half of the animals died following administration of 10 mg/kg of imipramine, amitriptyline or clomipramine. Paroxetine did not show a marked effect on heart rate at a dose of up to 3 mg/kg, although 0.1-3 mg/kg of imipramine, amitriptyline or clomipramine dose-dependently caused tachycardia. ECG disturbances were observed in animals administered 10 mg/kg of imipramine, amitriptyline or clomipramine; but in contrast, 10 mg/kg of paroxetine caused only slight changes in the ECG. Prolongation of atrio-ventricular conduction time was observed with all the drugs. It was concluded that the effects of paroxetine on the canine heart are more mild in comparison with other tricyclic antidepressants used, although its pharmacological features are essentially similar to those of other drugs.