Serum caffeine concentrations in preterm neonates

Am J Perinatol. 2007 Jan;24(1):39-47. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-958163. Epub 2006 Dec 27.


Caffeine therapy reduces apnea of prematurity, promotes successful extubation from invasive positive-pressure ventilation, and decreases the incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The recommended dosing for caffeine is a loading dose of 20 mg/kg followed by a 5 mg/kg/d maintenance dose. However, controversy exists about the optimal dosing regimen and data on serum caffeine concentrations in extremely immature infants are scant. We determined serum caffeine concentrations approximately 7 days after starting therapy with a 20 or 25 mg/kg loading dose and a 6 mg/kg/d maintenance dose in 154 infants with a mean gestational age of 29 weeks. The 25th to 75th percentile range for the serum caffeine concentrations with the two dosing regimens was equivalent, approximately 18 to 23 mg/L. Within the first 14 postnatal days, the serum caffeine concentrations were not dependent on postmenstrual age, weight, or postnatal age, and were in a range that is safe and therapeutic. This latter observation remained valid over the ranges of clinical and laboratory assessments of renal and hepatic functions that are usually found in practice. Routine measurement of steady-state serum caffeine concentrations in infants 24 to 35 weeks gestational age is not required in the absence of ongoing apnea/hypopnea or signs compatible with toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Apnea / prevention & control*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Caffeine / blood
  • Caffeine / therapeutic use*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / blood
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Caffeine