Aztreonam (30 mg/kg of body weight) was administered intravenously over 3 min every 12 h to 30 preterm neonates divided into two groups according to gestational age (mean age for group A was less than 30 weeks and mean age for group B was greater than 30 weeks) and birth weight (mean weight for group A was less than 1,500 g and mean weight for group B was greater than 1,500 g). Blood and urine samples were analyzed by microbiological assay. The pharmacokinetics were described by one-compartment and noncompartment models. The mean half-life and clearance for premature infants weighing less than 1,500 g were 5.33 +/- 3.61 h and 1.52 +/- 1.33 ml/min/kg, respectively; for those weighing more than 1,500 g, the values were 4.08 +/- 2.28 h and 2.41 +/- 2.10 ml/min/kg, respectively. The mean urinary concentration of aztreonam in 15 premature infants during the first 6 h of therapy was 242.72 +/- 188.19 micrograms/ml, with a mean percentage of elimination of 13.29%. Urinary excretion of N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase (a specific and sensitive test for the detection of drug-induced renal tubule damage) did not show significant differences in our group of premature infants compared with that in a control group. The dose of 30 mg/kg and a dosage interval of 8 to 12 h could be recommended for the treatment of suitable bacterial infections in all premature infants.