Therapy of steroid-dependent idiopathic nephrotic syndrome is often unsatisfactory. Since 1986 we have treated nine children (six male and three female), aged 3-16 years, with cyclosporin A (CsA) during 2.0-5.2 (median 3.1) years. All had minimal change disease on renal biopsy and had previously received cyclophosphamide. Mean daily dosage of CsA was 4.1 mg/kg (range 2.7-5.8) and mean whole blood trough level was 220 ng/ml (range 141-271). The relapse rate decreased from 3.4/patient year before CsA to 0.55 on CsA. Discontinuation of CsA or reduction below 2 mg/kg daily was always followed by a relapse. The overall relapse rate, including the period with very low-dose CsA, was 0.95/patient year. Four patients required additional low-dose alternate-day prednisone. Repeat renal biopsy showed minimal change disease in eight patients and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis in one; CsA-toxicity was mild in two and moderate in one. The latter was the only patient with slightly reduced glomerular filtration rate. Two boys with delayed puberty spontaneously matured and reached expected final height. We conclude that long-term low-dose CsA is very effective and steroid-sparing. Its use is justified in selected patients, particularly in those with numerous relapses and in male patients before and during puberty, as long as renal function and CsA-toxicity are carefully monitored.