Population pharmacokinetics of vancomycin in term neonates with perinatal asphyxia treated with therapeutic hypothermia

PharmaCool Study Group

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AIMS: Little is known about the population pharmacokinetics (PPK) of vancomycin in neonates with perinatal asphyxia treated with therapeutic hypothermia (TH). We aimed to describe the PPK of vancomycin and propose an initial dosing regimen for the first 48 h of treatment with pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic target attainment.

METHODS: Neonates with perinatal asphyxia treated with TH were included from birth until Day 6 in a multicentre prospective cohort study. A vancomycin PPK model was constructed using nonlinear mixed-effects modelling. The model was used to evaluate published dosing guidelines with regard to pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic target attainment. The area under the curve/minimal inhibitory concentration ratio of 400-600 mg*h/L was used as target range.

RESULTS: Sixteen patients received vancomycin (median gestational age: 41 [range: 38-42] weeks, postnatal age: 4.4 [2.5-5.5] days, birth weight: 3.5 [2.3-4.7] kg), and 112 vancomycin plasma concentrations were available. Most samples (79%) were collected during the rewarming and normothermic phase, as vancomycin was rarely initiated during the hypothermic phase due to its nonempirical use. An allometrically scaled 1-compartment model showed the best fit. Vancomycin clearance was 0.17 L/h, lower than literature values for term neonates of 3.5 kg without perinatal asphyxia (range: 0.20-0.32 L/h). Volume of distribution was similar. Published dosing regimens led to overexposure within 24 h of treatment. A loading dose of 10 mg/kg followed by 24 mg/kg/day in 4 doses resulted in target attainment.

CONCLUSION: Results of this study suggest that vancomycin clearance is reduced in term neonates with perinatal asphyxia treated with TH. Lower dosing regimens should be considered followed by model-informed precision dosing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1418-1427
Number of pages10
JournalBritish journal of clinical pharmacology
Issue number6
Early online date7 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • antimicrobial therapy
  • neonates
  • perinatal asphyxia
  • pharmacokinetics
  • therapeutic hypothermia
  • vancomycin

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