Amlodipine, a long-acting dihydropyridine calcium channel blocking agent, was administered to 55 children (age: 11.5 +/- 5.4 years) with hypertension, 49 of whom (89%) had secondary hypertension. Efficacy was assessed by comparing pretreatment blood pressure (BP) to follow-up BP obtained in our outpatient Pediatric Nephrology clinic. Thirty-two (58%) patients achieved BP control with amlodipine alone, and 31 (55%) patients received amlodipine twice daily. Eleven patients received amlodipine as a suspension. Mean amlodipine dose was 0.16 +/- 0.12 mg/kg/day; there was an inverse relationship between patient age and amlodipine dose. Follow-up BP were significantly lower than pretreatment BP: systolic BP fell from 129 +/- 12 to 122 +/- 12 mm Hg (P = .004), and diastolic BP fell from 78 +/- 13 to 70 +/- 19 mm Hg (P = .003). A small, clinically insignificant increase in heart rate (from 91 +/- 19 beats/min to 99 +/- 26 beats/min; P = .02) occurred during amlodipine treatment. Adverse effects reported included dizziness (three patients), fatigue (two patients), flushing (two patients), and leg edema (one patient). All improved with dose reduction. We conclude that amlodipine provides effective BP control without significant adverse effects in children with hypertension, and can be used as monotherapy in most children. Young children appear to require significantly higher doses per kilogram of body weight than older children. Twice-daily dosing may be required in many children to achieve BP control. Detailed pharmacokinetic studies are needed to confirm these observations.