Renal drug clearance in preterm neonates: relation to prenatal growth

Ther Drug Monit. 2007 Jun;29(3):284-91. doi: 10.1097/FTD.0b013e31806db3f5.


Aminoglycosides and glycopeptides are almost exclusively eliminated by renal excretion. Postmenstrual age (PMA) is the best predictor of their clearance, presumably because it predicts the time course of development of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Intrauterine growth restriction has an impact on the normalized weight of the kidney, on the number of nephrons, on GFR, and on tubular function in human perinatal life. We investigated whether prenatal growth also affects clearance of drugs such as aminoglycosides or glycopeptides that are eliminated through the kidney. Observations collected in two population pharmacokinetic studies involving preterm neonates and investigating amikacin and vancomycin in the first month of postnatal life were used to estimate the impact of prenatal growth (as judged by birth weight for gestational age) on the clearance of these drugs. Data from 1212 drug measurements (vancomycin, 648; amikacin, 564) in 531 subjects (vancomycin, 249; amikacin, 282) were available for study. Neonates born small for gestational age (SGA) were found to have a 16.2% (coefficient of variation, 12.2%) reduction in drug clearance. This effect was present from birth up to the postnatal age of 4 weeks. The covariate size (weight 0.75) explained 47.3% of drug clearance; PMA, 25.2%; coadministration of a nonselective cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor, 3.5%; renal function, 7.6%; and SGA, 1.7%. Renal drug clearance is significantly lower in preterm neonates born SGA than in appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) controls. This reduced clearance was observed not only at birth but also up to the postnatal age of 4 weeks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amikacin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Drug Monitoring / methods
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / metabolism*
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Vancomycin / pharmacokinetics*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vancomycin
  • Amikacin