The use of pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone is an effective means of inducing ovulation, but requires prolonged intravenous (IV) or subcutaneous administration. We hypothesized that the use of self-contained infusion pumps using fluids maintained in a closed system would permit safe peripheral IV administration of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, and possibly other hormones, over prolonged intervals. Thirty-eight female patients undergoing pulsatile IV gonadotropin-releasing hormone therapy were followed for 1958 catheter days (230 catheters). Catheters were removed for signs of local inflammation, at the completion of a treatment episode or, initially, at routine intervals of 7-10 days. There were no episodes of fever (temperature over 37.5C) and three episodes of local inflammation. The incidence of significant catheter-tip cultures was 11%, and none were associated with local inflammation. There were four positive blood cultures (2%), none associated with local or systemic signs of infection. We conclude that the use of a closed system of prolonged peripheral IV cannulation is relatively safe when combined with fastidious care of the catheter site and careful outpatient monitoring for long-term administration of pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone.