A biodegradable and biocompatible polymeric system was developed for the controlled release of vancomycin for the treatment of brain abscesses. Poly(D,L-lactic acid) (PLA) and its copolymers poly( lactide-co-glycolide) PLGA 90: 10 and PLGA 70: 30, were prepared. Polymer disks containing vancomycin (VN) were prepared by solvent casting from methylene chloride solutions. Degradation of the polymer disk was studied by scanning electron microscopy, NMR and GPC. SEM revealed an increasing degree of degradation with time with both PLGAs, the effect being more distinct in the PLGA with the higher glycolide content (PLGA 70: 30), which was confirmed with GPC, which showed both a decrease in the molecular weights of PLGA and a decrease in the heterogeneity index (chain length distribution) upon incubation in isotonic phosphate buffer at 37degreesC for up to 5 weeks. NMR showed a decrease in the CH2 contents of the copolymers, implying that the glycolide component of the copolymers is being preferentially degraded. In situ, vancomycin release behaviour of the disks in pH 7.4 phosphate buffer saline (PBS) was followed for 2 months in a static system. It was observed that release was according to Higuchi kinetics (Q vs. t(1/2)), and introduction of low molecular weight PLA or hydrophilic compounds like PEG increased the release rate.