Acyclovir therapy in neonates

Janet A. Englund, Courtney V. Fletcher, Henry H. Balfour

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46 Scopus citations


Study objective: To determine the pharmacokinetic parameters of acyclovirdisposition in neonates with renal dysfunction. Design: Prospective sequential open enroliment of neonates with presumed herpes group virus infections. Setting: Neonatal intensive care units in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitanarea. Patients: Sixteen neonates with gestational ages between 27 and 40 weeks (median 38 weeks) were given acyclovir between days 1 and 56 of life to treat presumed herpes virus infections. Six infants were critically ill with multisystem disease, five infants had hepatic failure and underwent blood exchange transfusion, and five infants had renal failure. A mean of four (range 1 to 19) serum acyclovir concentrations per patient were measured by radioimmunoassay. Pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated from acyclovir concentrations in 46 samples from 16 patients. Measurements and main results: The pharmacokinetic disposition of acyclovirwas described as a two-compartment model. Although the ranges for acyclovir clearance and terminal elimination (t1/2β) were wide, a statistically, significant relationship was demonstrated between clearance and beta versus serum creatinine concentration. The average t1/2β for infants with serum creatinine level <1 mg/dl (88 μmol/L) was 5.0 hours, and 15.6 hours for those with serum creatinine level >1 mg/dl. Conclusions: Neonates with hepatic or renal dysfunction or young premature infants accumulate acyclovir when dosed without adjustment for organ dysfunction. Measurement of serum creatinine or creatinine clearance can be useful in the dosing of acyclovir in neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-135
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of pediatrics
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Jul 1991

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dosage recommendations for the administration of acyclovir in neonates are based on pharmacokinetic data in neonates with normal creatinine clearance 1, 2; pharmacokinetic data in critically ill neonates are limited) Herpes simplex virus infection in neonates is often widespread by the time of presentation, and the disease may progress despite therapy. 4 Systemic HSV disease in neonates frequently involves both the renal and hepatic systems; the metabolism Supported by grants from Minnesota Medical Foundation and the Burroughs Wellcome Company. Submitted for publication June 26, 1990; accepted Feb. 12, 1991. Reprint requests: Janet A. Englund, MD, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030. 9/25/28736 and clearance of many drugs, including acyclovir, may be decreased. The pharmacokinetic disposition of acyclovir in the critically ill neonate has not been well studied; the large


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