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Dosing considerations for preterm neonates: from pharmacometrics to clinical practice

Prematurely born neonates require, amongst others, pharmaceutical therapy. Dosing guidelines for these therapies are often based on data from term born neonates or older infants, while these are not necessarily similar to prematurely born neonates.

A.G.J Engbers
19 december 2023
Thesis in Leiden Repository

When suboptimal dosing guidelines are applied the neonates are at risk for under- or overdosing. In this thesis the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a variety of drugs frequently used in preterm neonates were characterized, ultimately to optimize treatment. Specifically, caffeine, ibuprofen and fluconazole were studied which are drugs to treat apnea of prematurity, to close a patent ductus arteriosus and to treat or prevent infections with Candida in newborns, respectively. These drugs were introduced and used in clinical practice without sufficient knowledge, especially on appropriate dosing for this subpopulation. For caffeine and ibuprofen we found that the clearance rapidly increases with postnatal age, while for fluconazole clearance is better reflected by body weight and serum creatinine. For these drugs dosing guidelines were proposed based on identified covariates for their pharmacokinetics. Ibuprofen therapy was further investigated by examining the course of spontaneous closure of the ductus arteriosus, and evaluating the effects of ibuprofen exposure and patient characteristics simultaneously.

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