Vancomycin is effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and has been widely used in the past few years. However, several recent reports have highlighted the limitations of vancomycin, and its role in the management of serious infections is now being reconsidered. Vancomycin treatment failure rates are associated with an increase in the minimum inhibitory concentration as well as a decrease in the rate of bacterial killing. The intrinsic limitations of vancomycin also include poor tissue penetration, particularly in the lung; relatively slow bacterial killing; and the potential for toxicity. In addition, intermediate-level vancomycin resistance has emerged among staphylococci, as have rare cases of fully resistant strains. Because of these problems, when using vancomycin, it is probably prudent to carefully establish the diagnosis, test for antimicrobial susceptibility, and monitor serum trough concentrations to ensure adequate dosing.