The population pharmacokinetics of teicoplanin in plasma and tonsillar tissue in children was determined following intramuscular administration. Thirty seven patients in all received either a single 5 mg/kg dose; 2 doses of 5 mg/kg, 12 h apart; 3 doses of 5 mg/kg, 12 h apart; or, a single 10 mg/kg dose. Limited data, comprising a maximum of 2 blood samples and 1 tonsillar sample were taken from each patient, with the maximum time being 48 h after the first dose of teicoplanin (in the 3x5 mg/kg dosing schedule). All plasma data were analyzed simultaneously by a maximum likelihood method employing a modified EM algorithm. A first-order absorption, one-compartment disposition model was fitted to the data. Mean parameter values (with lower and upper 95% confidence intervals) were: clearance/bioavailability, 0.024 Lh-1kg-1 (0.020-0.027); volume of distribution/bioavailability, 0.61 Lkg-1 (0.54-0.70); absorption rate constant, 0.43 h-1 (0.31-0.61). A first-order transfer model for distribution of teicoplanin between plasma and tonsillar tissue was fitted to the tonsil data. The mean parameter values (95% confidence intervals) were: transfer rate constant between plasma and tonsils 0.49 h-1 (0.35-0.67); transfer rate constant between tonsils and plasma 0.73 h-1 (0.52-1.03). These rate constants correspond to a distribution half-life of 0.95 h and an equilibrium distribution concentration ratio between tonsillar tissue and plasma of 0.67. After normalising clearance and volume of distribution for body weight, there was no further influence of body weight on the pharmacokinetic parameters. Also, there was no effect of dose, and as two formulations were used, one for the 5 mg/kg dose and the other for the 10 mg/kg dose, no effect of formulation on the pharmacokinetics of teicoplanin after im (intramuscular) administration was found. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.