The pharmacokinetics and dosage requirements of gentamicin were studied in 1,640 patients receiving treatment for gram-negative infections. A wide interpatient variation in the kinetic parameters of the drug occurred in all patients and in patients who had normal serum creatinine or normal creatinine clearance. The half-life ranged from 0.4 to 32.7 h in 1,369 patients who had normal serum creatinine and from 0.4 to 7.6 h in 331 patients who had normal creatinine clearance. The factors related to the elimination rate constant were creatinine clearance, age, distribution volume, weight, gender, and hematocrit. The daily dose necessary to obtain therapeutic serum concentrations ranged from 0.5 to 25.8 mg/kg in patients with normal serum creatinine and from 0.7 to 25.8 mg/kg in patients with normal creatinine clearance. In 13 patients (0.9%), a significant change in base-line serum creatinine (≥0.5 mg/dl) occurred during or after treatment, which may have been gentamicin-associated toxicity. Overt cochlear or vestibular toxicity did not occur in these patients. The method of individualizing dosage regimens provided a clinically useful means of rapidly attaining therapeutic peak and trough serum concentrations.