Mexiletine is an antiarrhythmic agent used in the treatment of ventricular arrhythmia. The drug has a narrow therapeutic window which necessitates monitoring its serum concentrations. We describe a gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric analysis of mexiletine using selected ion monitoring. Mexiletine was extracted from alkaline serum with dichloromethane and then derivatized with perfluorooctanoyl chloride. The derivatization reaction was completed in 20 min at 80 degrees C. We used N-propylamphetamine as the internal standard. The ions monitored were m/z 122, 454 and 575 for the derivatized mexiletine and m/z 91, 118, 440 and 452 for the derivatized internal standard. The within-run precision at a serum mexiletine concentration of 1 mg/l was 1.9% (mean=0.98, S.D.=0.019 mg/l, n=7) and the between-run precision was 2.5% (mean=0.99, S.D.=0.025 mg/l, n=7). The assay was linear for serum mexiletine concentrations of 0.2 to 4 mg/l. The detection limit was 0.1 mg/l. The average recoveries of mexiletine and the internal standard were 80% and 84%, respectively at a mexiletine concentration of 1 mg/l. There was no carry over problem in our assay. We observed a good correlation between mexiletine concentrations measured by a reference laboratory (GC) and by our new GC-MS assay.