Since early treatment of depression with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) can be associated with insomnia, daytime antidepressive therapy with SSRI is often combined with nighttime administration of a hypnotic. This study attempted to evaluate the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions between zolpidem 10 mg, a short-acting hypnotic, and fluoxetine 20 mg, an SSRI. Twenty-seven healthy male volunteers (mean age 23.5 years, range 20 - 29) received zolpidem and fluoxetine in the following open design: zolpidem on night 1, a morning dose of fluoxetine daily from day 2 through day 18 and zolpidem on night 18. Using HPLC, plasma levels of zolpidem, fluoxetine, and norfluoxetine were determined throughout night 1 for zolpidem, night 18 for zolpidem, fluoxetine, and norfluoxetine on days 16 and 17 for fluoxetine and norfluoxetine. Morning psychomotor tests were performed on days 1, 2, 18, and 19. Statistical analysis of data consisted of repeated measures of ANOVA. There was no significant difference in AUC, C(max), and T1/2 of zolpidem plasma concentrations between night 1 (zolpidem) and night 18 (zolpidem and fluoxetine). There was a significantly higher zolpidem plasma level at 0.5 hours after dosing together with a significantly shorter T(max) on night 18 compared to night 1. There was no significant difference in C(min) of plasma fluoxetine and norfluoxetine levels between day 16 and 17 of fluoxetine dosing, and there was no difference in T(max) between day 17 (fluoxetine) and day 18 (fluoxetine and zolpidem). There was a 3 - 4% increase in AUC and C(max) of fluoxetine and norfluoxetine plasma concentrations in the presence of zolpidem. There was no difference in the next morning performance tests after nighttime treatment of zolpidem alone after 17 consecutive days of fluoxetine treatment, or after zolpidem in the presence of steady-state plasma concentrations of fluoxetine. Both zolpidem and fluoxetine were well tolerated alone or in combination. It is concluded that the onset of action of zolpidem may possibly be shortened in the presence of fluoxetine, but no other significant pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions occurred between zolpidem and fluoxetine.