Teicoplanin, a new glycopeptide antibiotic, is structurally related to ristocetin, an antibiotic known to induce human platelet agglutination and, thus, thrombocytopenia and thromboembolic side effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of teicoplanin on platelet function in vitro and ex vivo and on blood coagulation ex vivo. In the in vitro studies, spontaneous platelet aggregation; platelet aggregation induced by ADP, collagen, and ristocetin; and the release of beta-thromboglobulin from platelets were assessed. Platelets from healthy subjects were incubated with teicoplanin at final concentrations of 100, 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000 micrograms/ml. The maximal achievable concentration with therapeutic doses is 100 micrograms/ml. When compared with saline, teicoplanin at concentrations of 100 and 1,500 micrograms/ml had no effect on platelet function, but at concentrations of 5,000 and 10,000 micrograms/ml, it induced greater spontaneous platelet aggregation (P less than 0.01) and inhibited platelet aggregation induced by ADP, collagen, and ristocetin (P less than 0.01). Teicoplanin at concentrations of 100, 1,500, and 5,000 micrograms/ml did not induce the release of beta-thromboglobulin, in contrast to teicoplanin at a concentration of 10,000 micrograms/ml and ristocetin at a concentration of 1.5 mg/ml (P less than 0.01). In the ex vivo studies, platelet count, bleeding time, plasma beta-thromboglobulin, platelet aggregation induced by ADP, ristocetin, and epinephrine, activated partial thromboplastin time, prothrombin time, thrombin clotting time, and serum fibrinogen degradation products were evaluated at days 0, 3, and 6 and at 72 h after the end of therapy. All subjects completed the study without evidence of side effects. When compared with the pretreatment values, none of the values from these assays showed a significant change at any time during and after treatment. We concluded that platelet function and blood coagulation are not affected by therapeutic concentrations of teicoplanin and that in vitro platelet function is affected only by concentrations of teicoplanin far in excess of those that are clinically achievable.