The successful treatment with thiopental (10 mg/kg, i.v.) of 9 severely asphyxiated newborns, under artificial ventilation, with neonatal seizures resistant to phenobarbital, is reported in this pilot study. The clinical and electroencephalogram control of seizures was prompt and resolute. No adverse effect on cardiovascular function (heart rate, blood pressure) was observed. The terminal half-life of thiopental averaged 9 h, the total plasma clearance 0.20 l/h/kg, and the steady-state volume of distribution 3.6 l/h/kg. The kinetic profile of the drug compared to phenobarbital and phenytoin in newborns suggests that its action is quicker and shorter lasting. Thus, from these findings, thiopental may offer a useful and handy approach for the safe and effective treatment of phenobarbital-resistant neonatal seizures.