Hepatic drug clearance in children: studies with indocyanine green as a model substrate

J Pharm Sci. 1989 Jun;78(6):452-6. doi: 10.1002/jps.2600780605.


For several drugs metabolized by the liver, higher dosages (mg/kg body weight) are required in children to attain serum concentrations comparable to those in adults. Indocyanine green (ICG), a commonly used model substrate for hepatic elimination of high intrinsic clearance drugs, has been extensively evaluated in adults but not in children. We evaluated the disposition of ICG in 115 children with leukemia and nine healthy adult volunteers. The mean (SD) ICG plasma clearance (CLp) for all 115 children (age 0.9-17.8 years) was significantly greater (p = 0.0006) than for adults [14.8 (7.8) versus 10.6 (2.4) mL/min/kg]. When clearances from only children less than 10 years of age (N = 85) were compared with those from adults, the difference was even greater [15.6 (7.3) versus 10.6 (2.4) mL/min/kg; p = 0.0001]. However, when ICG CLp was normalized to body surface area, values for children did not differ significantly from adults [378 (204) versus 422 (102) mL/min/m2]. These data provide insight as to why dosage (mg/kg) requirements of certain drugs are higher in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Body Surface Area
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green / blood
  • Indocyanine Green / pharmacokinetics*
  • Infant
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / metabolism
  • Protein Binding


  • Blood Proteins
  • Indocyanine Green