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The Pharmacokinetics of Caffeine in Preterm Newborns: No Influence of Doxapram but Important Maturation with Age

Authors
  • Engbers, Aline G.J.
  • Völler, Swantje
  • Poets, Christian F.
  • Knibbe, Catherijne A.J.
  • Reiss, Irwin K.M.
  • Koch, Birgit C.P.
  • Flint, Robert B.
  • Simons, Sinno H.P.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Neonatology
Publisher
S. Karger AG
Publication Date
Feb 24, 2021
Volume
118
Issue
1
Pages
106–113
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1159/000513413
PMID: 33626528
Source
Karger
Keywords
License
Green
External links

Abstract

Background: Apnea of prematurity can persist despite caffeine therapy in preterm infants. Doxapram may additionally support breathing. Although multiple small studies have reported the efficacy of doxapram, the structural co-treatment with caffeine impedes to ascribe the efficacy to doxapram itself or to a pharmacokinetic (PK) interaction where doxapram increases the exposure to caffeine. We examined whether there is a PK drug-drug interaction between doxapram and caffeine by developing a PK model for caffeine including infants with and without doxapram treatment. Methods: In preterm neonates receiving caffeine, we determined caffeine plasma concentrations before, during, and directly after doxapram co-treatment and used these to develop a population PK model in NONMEM 7.3. Patient characteristics and concomitant doxapram administration were tested as covariates. Results: 166 plasma samples were collected from 39 preterm neonates receiving caffeine (median gestational age 25.6 [range 24.0–28.0] weeks) of which 65 samples were taken during co-treatment with doxapram (39%, from 32/39 infants). Clearance of caffeine was 9.99 mL/h for a typical preterm neonate with a birth weight of 0.8 kg and 23 days postnatal age and increased with birth weight and postnatal age, resulting in a 4-fold increase in clearance during the first month of life. No PK interaction between caffeine and doxapram was identified. Discussion: Caffeine clearance is not affected by concomitant doxapram therapy but shows a rapid maturation with postnatal age. As current guidelines do not adjust the caffeine dose with postnatal age, decreased exposure to caffeine might partly explain the need for doxapram therapy after the first week of life.

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