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Adequate gentamicin peak concentrations (Cmax) are important for optimal clinical efficacy. Within a critically ill patient, substantial variability in Cmax can occur over time, hampering the usefulness of therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of gentamicin dosing based on Cmax after the first dose on gentamicin target attainment in critically ill patients.From gentamicin-treated critically ill patients, dosing information, clinical parameters, and serum concentrations were collected prospectively. A population pharmacokinetic model was developed using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling to estimate Cmax after each dose. To evaluate the usefulness of routine TDM, percentages of Cmax within (%Cther, 15–20 mg/L), above (>20 mg/L), and below (%Csubther, <15 mg/L) the therapeutic range after the first and second doses were compared. In addition, simulations were performed to evaluate the impact of TDM.Four hundred sixteen measurements from 59 patients receiving 130 gentamicin doses were included. In the 30 patients who received >1 dose, TDM increased %Cther from 40% after a first median dose of 5.0 mg/kg to 50% after the second dose, and decreased %Csubther from 47% to 30%. Simulations using a 5 mg/kg starting dose revealed %Cther after the second dose of 28.4% without and 36.8% with TDM and %Csubther of 56.9% and 29.3%, respectively. Increasing the simulated starting dose to 6 mg/kg increased %Cther after the first dose from 27.7% to 33.5% and decreased %Csubther from 58.6% to 35.6%. TDM after a first dose of 6 mg/kg had no substantial effect on %Cther or %Csubther after the second dose.Gentamicin dosing based on Cmax after the first dose increased %Cther and decreased %Csubther, but did not result in therapeutic Cmax in half of the patients. When simulating a higher starting dose, %Csubther after the first dose decreased, and TDM showed no additional influence. These data suggest that a starting dose of 6 mg/kg should be considered and that repeated Cmax measurements are not of added value.