Pharmacokinetics of Anti-Infective Agents in Paediatric Patients

Dawn R. Butler, Robert J. Kuhn, Mary H.H. Chandler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Various differences in drug disposition exist between children and adults. For example, the volume of distribution (Vd) for many drugs is larger in children than in adults. Other parameters, including excretion and elimination may be altered in children compared with adults. The penicillins and cephalosporins are used commonly for the treatment of infection in paediatric patients. The increased Vd in children contributes to the increased elimination half-life of these agents. Clearance of the acylureido-penicillins is increased in children with cystic fibrosis, a disease that decreases the elimination half-life for these drugs. Aminoglycosides distribute into extracellular fluid and their pharmacokinetic profile is affected by changes in Vd. The Vd for aminoglycosides is slightly higher in children than in adults. Children with cystic fibrosis, bums, or cancer have higher clearance rates and larger Vd values for aminoglycosides. Few data in the literature address the pharmacokinetics of other anti-infective agents, including vancomycin, teicoplanin, erythromycin, metronidazole, chloramphenicol, and cotrimoxazole (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole), in children. Similarly, there is little information regarding the pharmacokinetic profile of antivirals and antifungals in children. Dosage guidelines are available to enable the clinician to initiate anti-infective therapy in children. Subsequent dosage requirements may change based on the patient’s current clinical condition. Although several studies have investigated the pharmacokinetics of anti-infectives in neonates and adults, data for children are limited. Therefore, further studies are required so that the ever growing arsenal of anti-infectives can be administered appropriately to children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-395
Number of pages22
JournalClinical Pharmacokinetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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