Therapeutic monitoring as an aid in rationalising aminoglycoside dosage techniques in the neonate
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General pharmacokinetic parameters applicable to adults are not suitable in neonatal practice owing to wide interpatient variations in respect of fluid balance, renal clearance and metabolic rates. We attempted to determine whether acceptable blood levels of gentamicin or tobramycin are obtained with dosage regimens and dosage techniques which are generally recommended. Forty neonates receiving aminoglycosides were studied. After administration of the drug as a slow, constant intravenous infusion into the 'Y' connection of the infusion set, peak levels were found to be subtherapeutic. Trough levels were also very low. After administration of the same dose of gentamicin or tobramycin as a bolus into the butterfly connection of the infusion set, however, high therapeutic levels were obtained. We therefore recommend that gentamicin and tobramycin be administered as an intravenous bolus injection and that blood levels be monitored constantly in order to individualise therapy.
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