Nefazodone is a new antidepressant drug, chemically unrelated to the tricyclic, tetracyclic or selective serotonin uptake inhibitors. Nefazodone blocks the serotonin 5-HT2 receptors and reversibly inhibits serotonin reuptake in vivo. Nefazodone is completely and rapidly absorbed after oral administration with a peak plasma concentration observed within 2 hours of administration. Nefazodone undergoes significant first-pass metabolism resulting in an oral bioavailability of approximately 20%. Although there is an 18% increase in nefazodone bioavailability with food, this increase is not clinically significant and nefazodone can be administered without regard to meals. Three pharmacologically active nefazodone metabolites have been identified: hydroxy-nefazodone, triazoledione and m-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP). The pharmacokinetics of nefazodone are nonlinear. The increase in plasma concentrations of nefazodone are greater than would be expected if they were proportional to increases in dose. Steady-state plasma concentrations of nefazodone are attained within 4 days of the commencement of administration. The pharmacokinetics of nefazodone are not appreciably altered in patients with renal or mild-to-moderate hepatic impairment. However, nefazodone plasma concentrations are increased in severe hepatic impairment and in the elderly, especially in elderly females. Lower doses of nefazodone may be necessary in these groups. Nefazodone is a weak inhibitor of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2D6 and does not inhibit CYP1A2. It is not anticipated that nefazodone will interact with drugs cleared by these isozymes. Indeed, nefazodone did not affect the pharmacokinetics of theophylline, a compound cleared by CYP1A2. Nefazodone is metabolised by and inhibits CYP3A4. Clinically significant interactions have been observed between nefazodone and the benzodiazepines triazolam and alprazolam, cyclosporin and carbamazepine. The potential for a clinically significant interaction between nefazodone and other drugs cleared by CYP3A4 (e.g. terfenadine) should be considered before the coadministration of these compounds. There was an increase in haloperidol plasma concentrations when coadministered with nefazodone; nefazodone pharmacokinetics were not affected after coadministration. No clinically significant interaction was observed when nefazodone was administered with lorazepam, lithium, alcohol, cimetidine, warfarin, theophylline or propranolol.