We studied the effects of three common pharmaceutical compounds on growth, development and body mass of larval stages of the marine shrimp Palaemon serratus at different temperatures and salinities. The pharmaceuticals compounds tested were the anti-inflammatory and analgesic diclofenac sodium, the lipid regulator clofibric acid and the fungicide clotrimazole. Neither diclofenac nor clofibric acid had any effect on growth, development or survival, although the maximum concentrations tested were 40 times higher than those observed in European coastal waters. Clotrimazole had significant effects at the higher concentration (2.78 μg L−1) when larvae were reared in full salinity sea water (32 PSU) and at the lower concentration (0.14 μg L−1) when larvae were reared at 20 PSU. Changes in body mass at larval stage resulted from effects of these compounds on growth and developmental rates, specifically the changes in intermoult duration and in the number of larval instars required to reach the juvenile stage. The results demonstrate that the effects of emergent compounds on growth and development may be stronger when organisms are under some additional stress.