In an open prospective study, the efficacy of sulbactam/ampicillin (50 and 100 mg/kg, respectively, qid) was evaluated in 21 patients with intracranial abscess(es). Sixteen patients had cerebral, 3 epidural, and 2 cerebellar abscesses. Multiple lesions were found in 7 patients. Sixteen patients underwent surgical intervention, others were treated with antibiotic alone. The mean duration of antibiotic therapy (+/- SD) was 48 +/- 10 days (range 26-65 days). The mean duration of follow-up after completion of therapy (+/- SD) was 6 +/- 2.4 months. All patients had at least some reduction in size of abscess(es) within 3 weeks of the initiation of therapy as monitored by computerized tomography. Seventeen patients were cured, three patients died due to causes unrelated to their infection. One patient was reoperated since no clear improvement either clinically or radiologically was observed 18 days after the first operation. Side effects of sulbactam/ampicillin were minor and transient. Results obtained in this study indicate that sulbactam/ampicillin can be used in the treatment of intracranial abscesses, alone or with surgical intervention.