Because of the recent lack of availability of streptomycin--currently considered the drug of choice for the treatment of tularemia--we reviewed the literature on alternative drugs that have been used for this purpose. In addition, we reviewed data on the in vitro susceptibility of Francisella tularensis to a wide variety of agents. The rate of cure for streptomycin was 97%, with no relapses. For gentamicin and tetracycline, respectively, the rates of cure were 86% and 88%, the rates of relapse were 6% and 12%, and the rates of failure were 8% and 0. The duration of therapy with gentamicin and a delay in its initiation may have affected outcome in severe cases. For chloramphenicol and tobramycin, cure rates were 77% and 50%, respectively; relapse rates were 21% and 0; and failure rates were 2% and 33%, respectively. Treatment with imipenem/cilastatin was successful in one case, and that with ciprofloxacin or norfloxacin was successful in six cases; in contrast, therapy with ceftriaxone was ineffective in eight cases. On the basis of this review, we conclude that gentamicin is an acceptable alternative to streptomycin for the treatment of tularemia.