To test the hypothesis that the hyperpyrexia produced by meperidine and detromethorphan in rabbits pretreated with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor is related to inhibition of neuronal uptake of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)), fluoxetine (Lilly 110140) was studied. This potent and specific 5-HT neuronal uptake blocker was administered to phenelzine-pretreated rabbits and found to produce a lethal hyperpyrexia in doses equal to or greater than 2.5 mg/kg. The order of potency in blocking 5-[14C]HT uptake into synaptosomes prepared from rabbits was: fluoxetine greater than meperidine = dextromethorphan = levorphanol greater than anileridine greater than alphaprodine greater than morphine. Since fluoxetine, meperidine, and dextromethorphan produce hyperpyrexia in phenelzine-pretreated rabbits, whereas anileridine, alphaprodine, and morphine do not, there appears to be some correlation between the hyperpyrexic response and inhibition of 5-HT uptake. The exception is levorphanol, which is not hyperpyrexic despite being equipotent with meperidine and dextromethorphan in inhibiting 5-HT uptake. The ineffectiveness of levorphanol in producing hyperpyrexia may be due to its marked depressant properties, since the addition of another depressant drug (pentobarbital) antagonized the hyperpyrexic effect of meperidine.