In 18 prematures (gestational age less than 32 weeks), an aqueous monohydrated caffeine colloidal gel was administered topically. High plasma levels were rapidly obtained with a loading dose divided in 4 applications by massaging, 1 ml of gel per kg body weight, at 12 hour intervals (18 mg caffeine base/kg). Maintenance was then instituted with a dose of 0.5 ml/kg/day. Treatment was initiated before 8 days of life, in children under assisted ventilation but without severe pulmonary involvement, during the period of weaning from the respirator. A good local and general tolerance was invariably observed and remarkable therapeutic efficacy was obtained.