Well-designed studies investigating how pediatric or adolescent patients with mental disorders respond to and metabolize the newer antipsychotic drugs are practically nonexistent. Without such data, clinicians have difficulty designing appropriate dosage regimens for patients in these age groups. The results from a study of olanzapine pharmacokinetics in children and adolescents are described. Eight inpatients (ages 10-18 years) with treatment-resistant childhood-onset schizophrenia received olanzapine (2.5-20 mg/day) over 8 weeks. Blood samples, collected during dose titration and at a steady state provided pharmacokinetic data. The final evaluation (week 8) included extensive sampling for 36 hours after a 20-mg dose. Olanzapine concentrations in these eight pediatric patients were of the same magnitude as those for nonsmoking adult patients with schizophrenia but may be as much as twice the typical olanzapine concentrations in patients with schizophrenia who smoke. Olanzapine pharmacokinetic evaluation gave an apparent mean oral clearance of 9.6 ± 2.4 L/hr and a mean elimination half-life of 37.2 ± 5.1 hours in these young patients. The determination of the initial olanzapine dose for adolescent patients should take into consideration factors such as the patient's size. In general, however, the usual dose recommendation of 5 to 10 mg once daily with a target dose of 10 mg/day is likely a good clinical guideline for most adolescent patients on the basis of our pharmacokinetics results.