Free radical toxicity is considered as a key mechanism in the neuronal damage occurring after aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH). We measured markers of DNA and RNA damage from oxidation (8-oxodG and 8-oxoGuo, respectively) in cerebrospinal fluid from 45 patients with SAH on day 1–14 after ictus and 45 age-matched healthy control subjects. At baseline, both markers were significantly increased in patients compared to controls (p values <.001), and exhibited a progressive further increase (to >20-fold above control levels) from day 5–14. None of the markers predicted the occurrence of vasospasms or mortality, although there was a trend that the 8-oxoGuo marker was more strongly associated with mortality than the 8-oxodG marker. We conclude that SAH leads to a massive increase in damage to nucleic acids from oxidative stress, which is likely to play a role in neuronal dysfunction and death. As only patients in need of a ventriculostomy catheter were included in the study, the findings cannot necessarily be extrapolated to all patients with SAH.