In this study we have examined the effect of a single administration of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, paroxetine (120-300 me kg(-1), orally) in a recently developed rodent model of acute toxicity testing. Reduced body-weight, food consumption, water consumption and body temperature were observed in all paroxetine-treated groups, which were reversible within 7 days. Five days after administration, a dose-dependent increase in red blood cells, haemoglobin and haematocrit was observed with the 3 higher dose levels of paroxetine, which was significant in the 240 and 300 mg kg(-1) treatment groups (P<0.05). Hyperactivity was apparent in the first 24 hr following treatment, as was evidence of the serotonin syndrome. When the animals were sacrificed (11 days after drug administration), an increase in liver weight was observed in the highest dose. These results are in agreement with those previously observed with paroxetine at the preclinical and clinical levels. They demonstrate that this rodent model, because of its multi-parameter nature, is a useful method for examining the consequences of a single high dose of an antidepressant drug.