The pharmacokinetics of vancomycin hydrochloride was studied in 12 very low birth weight infants. The gestational age (mean +/- SD) was 25.9 +/- 1.3 weeks and body weight was 769.2 +/- 151.5 g at the time of initiation of the study. Vancomycin was infused over a period of 60 minutes in a dosage of 14.2 +/- 3.2 mg/kg once daily in 10 patients, twice daily in 1 patient and every 36 hours in 1 patient for a mean of 10.5 +/- 4.9 days. Serial blood samples were obtained and the concentration time data were fitted to a one-compartment open model using the ADAPT computer program. A significant positive correlation was found between postconceptional age and vancomycin clearance (P less than 0.005) and between vancomycin elimination half-life and plasma creatinine (P less than 0.01). A negative correlation existed between plasma creatinine and vancomycin clearance (P less than 0.005), between postconceptional age and plasma creatinine (P less than 0.005) and between vancomycin half-life and postconceptional age (P less than 0.01). On the basis of these findings a vancomycin dosage of 15 mg/kg every 24 hours for infants less than 1000 g should yield concentrations within the accepted therapeutic range. This susceptible population requires frequent monitoring of vancomycin concentrations because of the high degree of interpatient variability and the continuous maturation of renal function.