A number of randomised studies indicate that a single high dose of aminoglycoside every 24 h may be more efficient and less toxic than the same dose divided into multiple daily doses. In the meta-analysis of 16 studies described here, which included more than 1200 patients, the relative chance (i.e. the relative risk, RR) of cure of the single-dose regime compared with the multiple-dose regime was 1.027, indicating that the single daily dose regime had a 2.7% higher cure rate (NS). The RR of avoiding nephrotoxicity was 1.001 (NS) and the RR of avoiding ototoxicity was 1.001 (NS). It is concluded that there is no difference concerning efficacy and safety between single-dose and multiple-dose regimes for administration of aminoglycosides.