Risk assessment of neonatal excipient exposure: lessons from food safety and other areas

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2014 Jun:73:89-101. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2013.11.003. Epub 2013 Nov 13.


Newborn babies can require significant amounts of medication containing excipients intended to improve the drug formulation. Most medicines given to neonates have been developed for adults or older children and contain excipients thought to be safe in these age groups. Many excipients have been used widely in neonates without obvious adverse effects. Some excipients may be toxic in high amounts in which case they need careful risk assessment. Alternatively, it is conceivable that ill-founded fears about excipients mean that potentially useful medicines are not made available to newborn babies. Choices about excipient exposure can occur at several stages throughout the lifecycle of a medicine, from product development through to clinical use. Making these choices requires a scalable approach to analysing the overall risk. In this contribution we examine these issues.

Keywords: Adverse effects; Excipients; Medicines; Neonates; Paediatrics; Pharmaceutical development; Risk analysis; Risk management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Excipients / adverse effects*
  • Food Safety
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Risk Assessment


  • Excipients