Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of antibacterials, antifungals, and antivirals used most frequently in neonates and infants.

Roberts ,et al, Clin Pharmacokinet. 2014 Jul


Antimicrobials and antivirals are widely used in young infants and neonates. β-Lactam antibacterial activity is maximized when the plasma concentration exceeds the minimum inhibitory concentration for a prolonged period, suggesting that more frequent dosing may optimize β-lactam therapy. Aminoglycosides are typically administered at longer intervals with larger doses in order to maximize exposure (i.e., area under the plasma concentration-time curve) with gestational age and weight strongly influencing the pharmacokinetic profile. Nonetheless, safety concerns necessitate therapeutic drug monitoring across the entire neonatal and young infant spectrum. Vancomycin, representing the glycopeptide class of antibacterials, has a long history of clinical utility, yet there is still uncertainty about the optimal pharmacodynamic index in neonates and young infants. Among neonates treated with the triazole agent fluconazole, it has been speculated that loading doses may improve pharmacodynamic target attainment rates. Neonates treated with lipid-based formulations of the polyene amphotericin B may be at an increased risk of death, such that alternative antifungal agents should be considered for neonates with invasive fungal infections. Alternative antifungal agents such as micafungin and caspofungin also exhibit unique pharmacokinetic considerations in this population. Neonates rapidly eliminate micafungin and require nearly three times the normal adult dose to achieve comparable levels of systemic exposure. Conversely, peak caspofungin concentrations have been reported to be similar amongneonates and adults. However, both of these drugs feature favorable safety profiles. Recent studies with acyclovir have suggested that current dosing regimens may not result in therapeutic central nervous system concentrations and more frequent dosing may be required for neonates at later postmenstrual ages. Though ganciclovir and valganciclovir demonstrate excellent activity against cytomegalovirus, they are associated with significant neutropenia. In summary, many pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies have been conducted in this vulnerable population; however, there are also substantial gaps in our knowledge that require further investigation.