The aims of this study were to describe the pharmacokinetics of zidovudine (ZDV) and its biotransformation to its metabolite, 3*-azido-3*-deoxy-5*-glucuronylthymidine (G-ZDV), in HIV-infected children, to identify factors that influence the pharmacokinetics of ZDV, and to compare and evaluate the doses recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). ZDV concentrations in 782 samples and G-ZDV concentrations in 554 samples from 247 children ranging in age from 0.5 to 18 years were retrospectively measured. A population pharmacokinetic model was developed with NONMEM software (version 6.2), and the pharmacokinetics of ZDV were best described by a one-compartment model with first-order absorption and elimination. The effect of body weight on the apparent elimination clearance and volume of distribution was significant. The mean population parameter estimates were as follows: absorption rate, 2.86 h(-1); apparent elimination clearance, 89.7 liters · h(-1) (between-subject variability, 0.701 liters · h(-1)); apparent volume of distribution, 229 liters (between-subject variability, 0.807 liters); metabolic formation rate constant, 12.6 h(-1) (between-subject variability, 0.352 h(-1)); and elimination rate constant of G-ZDV, 2.27 h(-1). On the basis of simulations with FDA and WHO dosing recommendations, the probabilities of observing efficient exposures (doses resulting in exposures of between 3 and 5 mg/liter · h) with less adverse events (doses resulting in exposures below 8.4 mg/liter · h) were higher when the FDA recommendations than when the WHO recommendations were followed. In order to improve the FDA recommendations, ZDV doses should be reconsidered for the weight band (WB) of 20 to 40 kg. The most appropriate doses should be decreased from 9 to 8 mg/kg of body weight twice a day (BID) for the WB from 20 to 29.9 kg and from 300 to 250 mg BID for the WB from 30 to 39.9 kg. The highest dose, 300 mg BID, should be started from body weights of 40 kg.