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author:("luthar, ira")
1.  Association between TLR3 rs3775291 and resistance to HIV among highly exposed Caucasian intravenous drug users 
TLR3 recognizes dsRNA and triggers immune responses against RNA and DNA viruses. A polymorphism in TLR3, rs3775291 (Leu412Phe), has been associated with the increased susceptibility to enteroviral myocarditis, protection against tick-borne encephalitis virus and HIV-1 infection. We investigated Caucasian intravenous drug users (IDUs) and blood donors in order to evaluate the associations between TLR3 genotypes and susceptibility to HIV infection.
Materials and methods
A total of 345 Caucasian IDUs were recruited, 50% of them were HIV positive, 89% HCV and 77% HBV positive. Based on their history of needle sharing, 20 of the HIV negative IDUs were classified as highly exposed HIV seronegatives (HESNs), 68 as non-HESNs and 85 as unexposed. The control group consisting of 497 blood donors tested negative for all three viruses. TLR3 rs3775291 were determined by using TaqMan Allelic Discrimination Assay.
The TLR3 rs3775291 T allele frequency was similar among the HIV negative and HIV positive IDUs and blood donors – 36%, 31% and 34%, respectively. The frequency of persons possessing at least one TLR3 rs3775291 T allele was significantly higher in HESNs compared with blood donors and HIV positive IDUs (80% vs. 55%; p = 0.037 and 80% vs. 53%; p = 0.031, respectively). In the univariate analysis, persons who possessed at least one T allele had reduced odds of being HIV seropositive (OR = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.09–0.90). This association remained significant (OR = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.07–0.87) after the adjustment for other co-variates (HCV, HBV serostatus and duration of intravenous drug use).
The TLR3 rs3775291 T allele has a protective effect against HIV infection among HESNs IDUs.
PMCID: PMC4001117  PMID: 23962581
TLR3; Leu412Phe; Intravenous drug users; Highly exposed HIV seronegatives
2.  Comparison of two alternative study designs in assessment of medicines utilisation in neonates 
Estimates of prevalence are known to be affected by the design of cross-sectional studies. A pan-European study provided an opportunity to compare the effect of two cross-sectional study designs on estimates of medicines use.
A Service evaluation survey (SES) and a web-based point-prevalence study (PPS) were conducted as part of a European study of neonatal exposure to excipients. Neonatal units from all European Union countries plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Serbia were invited to participate. All medicines prescribed to neonates were recorded during three-day and one-day study periods in the SES and PPS, respectively. In the PPS individual demographic and prescription data were also collected.
To compare the probabilities that a particular medicine would be reported by each study multilevel mixed effects logistic regression models with crossed random effects were applied. The relationship between medicines exposure at the unit and individual levels in the PPS data was assessed using polynomial regression with square root transformation.
Of 31 invited countries 20 and 21 with 115 and 89 units joined the SES and PPS, respectively. Out of 5,572,859 live births in invited countries in 2010 a higher proportion was covered by units participating in the SES compared to the PPS (11% vs 6%, respectively; OR 1.89; 95% CI 1.87-1.89). A greater number of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), manufacturers and trade names were registered in the SES compared to the PPS. High correlation between the two studies in frequency of use for each specified API was seen (R2 = 0.86). The average probability of a department to use a given API was greater in the SES compared to the PPS (OR 2.36; 95% CI 2.05-2.73) with higher frequency of use and longer average duration of prescription further increasing the difference. The polynomial regression model described the correlation between APIs exposure on unit and individual level well (R2 = 0.93).
The simple data structure and longer study period of the SES resulted in improved recruitment and higher likelihood of capture for a given API. The frequency of use at the unit level appears a good surrogate of individual exposure rates.
PMCID: PMC4110064  PMID: 25027048
Pharmacoepidemiologic methods; Cross-sectional studies; Data collection; Drug/excipient exposure
6.  Use of Oral Fluid to Examine the Molecular Epidemiology of Varicella Zoster Virus in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;207(4):588-593.
We investigated oral fluid (OF) as an alternative to sampling of rashes for varicella zoster virus (VZV) genotyping and further characterized VZV clade prevalence in the United Kingdom and Europe. VZV was detected in up to 91% of OF specimens. Paired OF and vesicle fluid samples contained identical VZV clades. While clades 1 and 3 were the most prevalent across the United Kingdom and Europe, in Western Europe, clade 5 viruses were circulating. Viruses from the same outbreak belonged to different clades, but no clade was associated with a severe-disease phenotype. OF is suitable and convenient for large-scale molecular epidemiological studies of VZV.
PMCID: PMC3549596  PMID: 23087434
Varicella-zoster virus; Clade; Oral fluid; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Vesicle fluid
7.  CCR5 Haplotypes Influence HCV Serostatus in Caucasian Intravenous Drug Users 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70561.
Up to 90% HIV-1 positive intravenous drug users (IDUs) are co-infected with HCV. Although best recognized for its function as a major co-receptor for cell entry of HIV, CC chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of HCV infection. Here, we investigated whether CCR5 haplotypes influence HIV-1 and HCV seropositivity among 373 Caucasian IDUs from Estonia.
Of these IDUs, 56% and 44% were HIV and HCV seropositive, respectively, and 47% were coinfected. 500 blood donors seronegative for HIV and HCV were also evaluated. CCR5 haplotypes (HHA to HHG*2) were derived after genotyping nine CCR2–CCR5 polymorphisms. The association between CCR5 haplotypes with HIV and/or HCV seropositivity was determined using logistic regression analysis. Co-variates included in the models were length of intravenous drug use, HBV serostatus and copy number of CCL3L1, the gene encoding the most potent HIV-suppressive chemokine and ligand for CCR5.
Compared to IDUs seronegative for both HCV and HIV (HCV−/HIV-), IDUs who were HCV+/HIV- and HCV+/HIV+were 92% and 82%, respectively, less likely to possess the CCR5-HHG*1 haplotype, after controlling for co-variates (Padjusted = 1.89×10−4 and 0.003, respectively). This association was mostly due to subjects bearing the CCR5 HHE and HHG*1 haplotype pairs. Approximately 25% and<10% of HCV−/HIV- IDUs and HCV−/HIV- blood donors, respectively, possessed the HHE/HHG*1 genotype.
Our findings suggest that HHG*1-bearing CCR5 genotypes influence HCV seropositivity in a group of Caucasian IDUs.
PMCID: PMC3723663  PMID: 23936229
8.  Antibiotic prescription preferences in paediatric outpatient setting in Estonia and Sweden 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:124.
Aims of the study were to compare the paediatric outpatient antibiotic use in two countries with low overall antibiotic consumption and antibacterial resistance levels - Sweden and Estonia - and to describe the adherence to Estonian treatment guideline.
All prescriptions for systemic antibiotics for children less than 18 years during 2007 from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register and Estonian Health Insurance Fund database were identified to conduct a descriptive drug utilisation study.
The total paediatric antibiotic use was 616 and 353 per 1000 in Estonia and Sweden, respectively. The greatest between country differences occurred in the age group 2 to 6 years –Estonian children received 1184 and Swedish children 528 prescriptions per 1000. Extended spectrum penicillin amoxicillin (189 per 1000) or its combination with beta-lactamase inhibitor (81 per 1000) and a newer macrolide clarithromycin (127 per 1000) were prescribed most often in Estonia whereas narrow spectrum penicillin phenoxymethylpenicillin (169 per 1000) and older generation macrolide erythromycin (21 per 1000) predominated in Sweden. For acute bronchitis, 17 different antibiotics (most commonly clarithromycin) were prescribed in Estonia despite the guideline recommendation not to use antibiotics.
The higher rate of antibiotic use especially of extended spectrum antibiotics in Estonia compared to Sweden emphasizes the need for national activities to promote appropriate use of antibiotics while treating children, even when the overall antibiotic consumption is low.
PMCID: PMC3647088  PMID: 23667800
9.  Short versus Long Infusion of Meropenem in Very-Low-Birth-Weight Neonates 
Prolonged infusion of meropenem has been suggested in studies with population pharmacokinetic modeling but has not been tested in neonates. We compared the steady-state pharmacokinetics (PK) of meropenem given as a short (30-min) or prolonged (4-h) infusion to very-low-birth-weight (gestational age, <32 weeks; birth weight, <1,200 g) neonates to define the appropriate dosing regimen for a phase 3 efficacy study. Short (n = 9) or prolonged (n = 10) infusions of meropenem were given at a dose of 20 mg/kg every 12 h. Immediately before and 0.5, 1.5, 4, 8, and 12 h after the 4th to 7th doses of meropenem, blood samples were collected. Meropenem concentrations were measured by ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography. PK analysis was performed with WinNonlin software, and modeling was performed with NONMEM software. A short infusion resulted in a higher mean drug concentration in serum (Cmax) than a prolonged infusion (89 versus 54 mg/liter). In all but two patients in the prolonged-infusion group, the free serum drug concentration was above the MIC (2 mg/liter) 100% of the time. Meropenem clearance (CL) was not influenced by postnatal or postmenstrual age. In population PK analysis, a one-compartment model provided the best fit and the steady-state distribution volume (Vss) was scaled with body weight and CL with a published renal maturation function. The covariates serum creatinine and postnatal and gestational ages did not improve the model fit. The final parameter estimates were a Vss of 0.301 liter/kg and a CL of 0.061 liter/h/kg. Meropenem infusions of 30 min are acceptable as they balance a reasonably high Cmax with convenience of dosing. In very-low-birth-weight neonates, no dosing adjustment is needed over the first month of life.
PMCID: PMC3421889  PMID: 22733063
10.  Peripheral blood RNA gene expression profiling in patients with bacterial meningitis 
Objectives: The aim of present study was to find genetic pathways activated during infection with bacterial meningitis (BM) and potentially influencing the course of the infection using genome-wide RNA expression profiling combined with pathway analysis and functional annotation of the differential transcription.
Methods: We analyzed 21 patients with BM hospitalized in 2008. The control group consisted of 18 healthy subjects. The RNA was extracted from whole blood, globin mRNA was depleted and gene expression profiling was performed using GeneChip Human Gene 1.0 ST Arrays which can assess the transcription of 28,869 genes. Gene expression profile data were analyzed using Bioconductor packages and Bayesian modeling. Functional annotation of the enriched gene sets was used to define the altered genetic networks. We also analyzed whether gene expression profiles depend on the clinical course and outcome. In order to verify the microarray results, the expression levels of ten functionally relevant genes with high statistical significance (CD177, IL1R2, IL18R1, IL18RAP, OLFM4, TLR5, CPA3, FCER1A, IL5RA, and IL7R) were confirmed by quantitative real-time (qRT) PCR.
Results: There were 8569 genes displaying differential expression at a significance level of p < 0.05. Following False Discovery Rate (FDR) correction, a total of 5500 genes remained significant at a p-value of < 0.01. Quantitative RT-PCR confirmed the differential expression in 10 selected genes. Functional annotation and network analysis indicated that most of the genes were related to activation of humoral and cellular immune responses (enrichment score 43). Those changes were found in both adults and in children with BM compared to the healthy controls. The gene expression profiles did not significantly depend on the clinical outcome, but there was a strong influence of the specific type of pathogen underlying BM.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that there is a very strong activation of immune response at the transcriptional level during BM and that the type of pathogen influences this transcriptional activation.
PMCID: PMC3600829  PMID: 23515576
bacterial meningitis; gene expression profiling; gene networks
11.  Hospitalised neonates in Estonia commonly receive potentially harmful excipients 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:136.
Information on the neonatal exposure to excipients is limited. Our aim was to describe the extent of excipient intake by Estonian neonates; to classify the excipients according to potential neonatal toxicity and thereby to measure the extent of exposure of neonates to potentially harmful excipients.
A prospective cohort study that recorded all medicines prescribed to patients aged below 28 days admitted to Tartu University Hospital from 01.02-01.08 2008 and to Tallinn Children’s Hospital from 01.02- 01.08 2009 was conducted. Excipients were identified from Summaries of Product Characteristics and classified according to toxicity following a literature review.
1961 prescriptions comprising 107 medicines were written for 348/490 neonates admitted. A total of 123 excipients were found in 1620 (83%) prescriptions and 93 (87%) medicines. 47 (38%) of these excipients were classified as potentially or known to be harmful to neonates. Most neonates (97%) received at least one medicine (median number 2) with potentially or known to be harmful excipient. Parabens were the most commonly used known to be harmful excipients and sodium metabisulphite the most commonly used potentially harmful excipient, received by 343 (99%) and 297 (85%) of treated neonates, respectively.
Hospitalised neonates in Estonia are commonly receiving a wide range of excipients with their medication. Quantitative information about excipients should be made available to pharmacists and neonatologists helping them to take into account excipient issues when selecting medicines and to monitor for adverse effects if administration of medicines containing excipients is unavoidable.
PMCID: PMC3483231  PMID: 22931304
Harmful excipient; Neonate
12.  Meropenem vs standard of care for treatment of late onset sepsis in children of less than 90 days of age: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2011;12:215.
Late onset neonatal sepsis (LOS) with the mortality of 17 to 27% is still a serious disease. Meropenem is an antibiotic with wide antibacterial coverage. The advantage of it over standard of care could be its wider antibacterial coverage and thus the use of mono-instead of combination therapy.
NeoMero-1, an open label, randomised, comparator controlled, superiority trial aims to compare the efficacy of meropenem with a predefined standard of care (ampicillin + gentamicin or cefotaxime + gentamicin) in the treatment of LOS in neonates and infants aged less than 90 days admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit.
A total of 550 subjects will be recruited following a 1:1 randomisation scheme. The trial includes patients with culture confirmed (at least one positive culture from normally sterile site except coagulase negative staphylococci in addition to one clinical or laboratory criterion) or clinical sepsis (at least two laboratory and two clinical criteria suggestive of LOS in subjects with postmenstrual age < 44 weeks or fulfilment of criteria established by the International Pediatric Sepsis Consensus Conference in subjects with postmenstrual age ≥ 44 weeks). Meropenem will be given at a dose of 20 mg/kg q12h or q8h depending on the gestational- and postnatal age. Comparator agents are administered as indicated in British National Formulary for Children. The primary endpoint measured at the test of cure visit (2 days after end of study therapy) is graded to success (all baseline symptoms and laboratory parameters are resolved or improved with no need to continue antibiotics and the baseline microorganisms are eradicated and no new microorganisms are identified and the patient has received allocated treatment for 11 ± 3 days with no modification) or a failure (all remaining cases). Secondary outcome measures include comparison of survival, relapse rates or new infections by Day 28, clinical response at Day 3 and end of therapy, duration of hospitalisation, population pharmacokinetic analysis of meropenem and effect of antibiotics on mucosal colonisation and development of antibacterial resistance.
The study will start recruitment in September 2011; the total duration is of 24 months.
Trial registration
EudraCT 2011-001515-31
PMCID: PMC3193806  PMID: 21958494
randomised controlled trial; neonate; premature neonate; FP7
13.  Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Tolerability of Voriconazole in Immunocompromised Children▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(10):4116-4123.
The pharmacokinetics of voriconazole in children receiving 4 mg/kg intravenously (i.v.) demonstrate substantially lower plasma exposures (as defined by area under the concentration-time curve [AUC]) than those in adults receiving the same therapeutic dosage. These differences in pharmacokinetics between children and adults limit accurate prediction of pediatric voriconazole exposure based on adult dosages. We therefore studied the pharmacokinetics and tolerability of higher dosages of an i.v.-to-oral regimen of voriconazole in immunocompromised children aged 2 to <12 years in two dosage cohorts for the prevention of invasive fungal infections. The first cohort received 4 mg/kg i.v. every 12 h (q12h), then 6 mg/kg i.v. q12h, and then 4 mg/kg orally (p.o.) q12h; the second received 6 mg/kg i.v. q12h, then 8 mg/kg i.v. q12h, and then 6 mg/kg p.o. q12h. The mean values for the AUC over the dosing interval (AUCτ) for 4 mg/kg and 6 mg/kg i.v. in cohort 1 were 11,827 and 22,914 ng·h/ml, respectively, whereas the mean AUCτ values for 6 mg/kg and 8 mg/kg i.v. in cohort 2 were 17,249 and 29,776 ng·h/ml, respectively. High interpatient variability was observed. The bioavailability of the oral formulation in children was approximately 65%. The safety profiles were similar in the two cohorts and age groups. The most common treatment-related adverse event was increased gamma glutamyl transpeptidase levels. There was no correlation between adverse events and voriconazole exposure. In summary, voriconazole was tolerated to a similar degree regardless of dosage and age; the mean plasma AUCτ for 8 mg/kg i.v. in children approached that for 4 mg/kg i.v. in adults, thus representing a rationally selected dosage for the pediatric population.
PMCID: PMC2944563  PMID: 20660687
14.  CCL3L1 copy number is a strong genetic determinant of HIV seropositivity in Caucasian intravenous drug users 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2010;201(5):730-739.
A high copy number of CCL3L1, the most potent HIV-suppressive chemokine, associates with reduced HIV susceptibility. Whether CCL3L1 influences acquisition of multiple blood-borne infections (HCV, HIV-1, HBV) that occurs commonly among intravenous drug users (IDUs) is unknown.
We determined CCL3L1 copy number by real-time PCR among 374 Caucasian IDUs from Estonia of whom 285 were HCV-positive, 208 HIV+, 177 HCV+/HIV+, and 57 HCV−/HIV−.
In univariate and multivariate analyses, HCV and HBV seropositivity, and duration of IDU each strongly predicted HIV seropositivity. A high CCL3L1 copy number (>2) associated with a 80% reduced risk of acquiring HIV, after adjusting for age, gender, HCV/HBV status, CCR5-Δ32 polymorphism and IDU duration (OR=0.20; 95% CI=0.09–0.45). By contrast, CCL3L1 gene dose did not influence HCV seropositivity. Among HCV+ IDUs, there was a 3.5-fold over- and 65% under-representation of a high CCL3L1 copy number among HCV+/HIV− and HCV+/HIV+ subjects, respectively.
Among IDUs exposed heavily to HCV/HIV, CCL3L1 copy number is a major determinant of HIV seropositivity, but not HCV seropositivity. The contrasting distribution of a protective high CCL3L1 copy number among HCV+/HIV− vs HCV+/HIV+ IDUs may reflect that HIV preferentially selects for subjects with a low CCL3L1 gene dose.
PMCID: PMC2836481  PMID: 20095832
chemokine copy number; HIV; HCV; IDU
15.  Framework conditions facilitating paediatric clinical research 
The use of unlicensed and "off-label" medicines in children is widespread. Between 50-80% of the medicines currently administered to children have neither been tested nor authorized for their use in the paediatric population which represents approximately 25% of the whole European population. On 26 January 2007, entered into force the European Regulation of Paediatric Medicines. It aims at the quality of research into medicines for children but without subjecting the paediatric population to unnecessary clinical trial. This article addresses ethical and legal issues arising from the regulation and makes recommendations for the framework conditions facilitating the development of clinical research with children.
PMCID: PMC3055809  PMID: 21345195
16.  Clinical parameters predicting failure of empirical antibacterial therapy in early onset neonatal sepsis, identified by classification and regression tree analysis 
BMC Pediatrics  2009;9:72.
About 10-20% of neonates with suspected or proven early onset sepsis (EOS) fail on the empiric antibiotic regimen of ampicillin or penicillin and gentamicin. We aimed to identify clinical and laboratory markers associated with empiric antibiotic treatment failure in neonates with suspected EOS.
Maternal and early neonatal characteristics predicting failure of empiric antibiotic treatment were identified by univariate logistic regression analysis from a prospective database of 283 neonates admitted to neonatal intensive care unit within 72 hours of life and requiring antibiotic therapy with penicillin or ampicillin and gentamicin. Variables, identified as significant by univariate analysis, were entered into stepwise multiple logistic regression (MLR) analysis and classification and regression tree (CRT) analysis to develop a decision algorithm for clinical application. In order to ensure the earliest possible timing separate analysis for 24 and 72 hours of age was performed.
At 24 hours of age neonates with hypoglycaemia ≤ 2.55 mmol/L together with CRP values > 1.35 mg/L or those with BW ≤ 678 g had more than 30% likelihood of treatment failure. In normoglycaemic neonates with higher BW the best predictors of treatment failure at 24 hours were GA ≤ 27 weeks and among those, with higher GA, WBC ≤ 8.25 × 109 L-1 together with platelet count ≤ 143 × 109 L-1. The algorithm allowed capture of 75% of treatment failure cases with a specificity of 89%. By 72 hours of age minimum platelet count ≤ 94.5 × 109 L-1 with need for vasoactive treatment or leukopaenia ≤ 3.5 × 109 L-1 or leukocytosis > 39.8 × 109 L-1 or blood glucose ≤ 1.65 mmol/L allowed capture of 81% of treatment failure cases with the specificity of 88%. The performance of MLR and CRT models was similar, except for higher specificity of the CRT at 72 h, compared to MLR analysis.
There is an identifiable group of neonates with high risk of EOS, likely to fail on conventional antibiotic therapy.
PMCID: PMC2789707  PMID: 19930706
17.  Population Pharmacokinetic Analysis of Voriconazole Plasma Concentration Data from Pediatric Studies▿  
Voriconazole is a potent triazole with broad-spectrum antifungal activity against clinically significant and emerging pathogens. The present population pharmacokinetic analysis evaluated voriconazole plasma concentration-time data from three studies of pediatric patients of 2 to <12 years of age, incorporating a range of single or multiple intravenous (i.v.) and/or oral (p.o.) doses. An appropriate pharmacokinetic model for this patient population was created using the nonlinear mixed-effect modeling approach. The final model described voriconazole elimination by a Michaelis-Menten process and distribution by a two-compartment model. It also incorporated a statistically significant (P < 0.001) influence of the CYP2C19 genotype and of the alanine aminotransferase level on clearance. The model was used in a number of deterministic simulations (based on various fixed, mg/kg of body weight, and individually adjusted doses) aimed at finding suitable i.v. and p.o. voriconazole dosing regimens for pediatric patients. As a result, 7 mg/kg twice a day (BID) i.v. or 200 mg BID p.o., irrespective of body weight, was recommended for this patient population. At these doses, the pediatric area-under-the-curve (AUC) distribution exhibited the least overall difference from the adult AUC distribution (at dose levels used in clinical practice). Loading doses or individual dosage adjustments according to baseline covariates are not considered necessary in administering voriconazole to children.
PMCID: PMC2650527  PMID: 19075073
18.  Treatment of Scedosporiosis with Voriconazole: Clinical Experience with 107 Patients▿  
The efficacy of voriconazole in 107 patients with scedosporiosis was analyzed. Principal infection sites were the lungs/sinuses (24%), central nervous system (CNS) (20%), and bone (18%), while 21% of patients had disseminated infection. Solid organ transplantation (22%), hematological malignancy (21%), and surgery/trauma (15%) were the predominant underlying conditions. A successful therapeutic response was achieved in 57% of patients (median, 103 therapy days), with >98% of those responding receiving ≥28 days of therapy. Patients receiving primary therapy showed a 61% response versus 56% for the others. The best therapeutic responses were seen for skin/subcutaneous (91%) or bone (79%) infections, and the lowest for CNS infections (43%). Patients without major immune suppression (72%) or those with solid organ transplantation (63%) or various hematological conditions (60%) showed the best responses by underlying condition. Median known survival time was 133 days (therapy successes, 252 days; failures, 21 days). In all, 43 (40%) patients died, 73% due to scedosporiosis. Patients with Scedosporium prolificans infection had significantly reduced survival times (P = 0.0259) and were more likely to die from fungal infection (P = 0.002) than were Scedosporium apiospermum-infected patients. In a subset of 43 patients where voriconazole baseline MICs were available, response to voriconazole was higher for S. apiospermum-infected patients (54% response; MIC50, 0.25 μg/ml) than for S. prolificans-infected patients (40% response; MIC50, 4.0 μg/ml). Voriconazole demonstrated clinically useful activity in the treatment of both S. apiospermum and S. prolificans infections and was well tolerated.
PMCID: PMC2346616  PMID: 18212110
19.  Pharmacokinetics of Penicillin G in Very-Low-Birth-Weight Neonates▿  
Data on the pharmacokinetics (PKs) of penicillin G (PEN) in neonates date back to the 1970s and do not include data for very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) neonates. The aim of this study was to describe the steady-state PKs and to establish an optimal regimen for the dosing of PEN in neonates with gestational ages of less than 28 weeks and birth weights of less than 1,200 g. Two PEN dosing regimens were studied: 50,000 IU (30 mg)/kg of body weight every 12 h (q12h) (group 1; n = 9) and 25,000 IU (15 mg)/kg q12h (group 2; n = 9). Samples for PK analysis were drawn before the injection of PEN and at 2 and 30 min and 1.5, 4, 8, and 12 h after intravenous injection of the third to eighth PEN doses. The PEN concentration was measured by a high-performance liquid chromatography with UV detection technique. The median peak and trough concentrations of PEN were 147 μg/ml (lower and upper quartiles, 109 and 157 μg/ml, respectively) and 7 μg/ml (lower and upper quartiles, 5 and 13 μg/ml, respectively) after administration of the dose of 50,000 IU and 59 μg/ml (lower and upper quartiles, 53 and 78 μg/ml, respectively) and 3 μg/ml (lower and upper quartiles, 3 and 4 μg/ml, respectively) after administration of the dose of 25,000 IU. The PEN half-life (median and lower and upper quartiles for group 1, 3.9 h and 3.3 and 7.0 h, respectively; median and lower and upper quartiles for group 2, 4.6 h and 3.8 and 5.6 h, respectively) was longer in VLBW neonates than in adults and term infants. PEN renal clearance correlated with creatinine clearance (R2 = 0.309596; P = 0.038). Only a median of 34% (lower and upper quartiles, 28 and 37%, respectively) of the administered dose was excreted in urine within the following 12 h. We conclude that in VLBW infants a PEN dose of 25,000 IU (15 mg)/kg q12h is safe and sufficient to achieve serum concentrations above the MIC90 for group B streptococci for the entire dosing interval.
PMCID: PMC1891411  PMID: 17371819
21.  Pharmacokinetics and Safety of Intravenous Voriconazole in Children after Single- or Multiple-Dose Administration 
We conducted a multicenter study of the safety, tolerability, and plasma pharmacokinetics of the parenteral formulation of voriconazole in immunocompromised pediatric patients (2 to 11 years old). Single doses of 3 or 4 mg/kg of body weight were administered to six and five children, respectively. In the multiple-dose study, 28 patients received loading doses of 6 mg/kg every 12 h on day 1, followed by 3 mg/kg every 12 h on day 2 to day 4 and 4 mg/kg every 12 h on day 4 to day 8. Standard population pharmacokinetic approaches and generalized additive modeling were used to construct the structural pharmacokinetic and covariate models used in this analysis. In contrast to that in adult healthy volunteers, elimination of voriconazole was linear in children following doses of 3 and 4 mg/kg every 12 h. Body weight was more influential than age in accounting for the observed variability in voriconazole pharmacokinetics. Elimination capacity correlated with the CYP2C19 genotype. Exposures were similar at 4 mg/kg every 12 h in children (median area under the concentration-time curve (AUC), 14,227 ng · h/ml) and 3 mg/kg in adults (median AUC, 13,855 ng · h/ml). Visual disturbances occurred in 5 (12.8%) of the 39 patients and were the only drug-related adverse events that occurred more than once. No withdrawals from the study were related to voriconazole. We conclude that pediatric patients have a higher capacity for elimination of voriconazole per kilogram of body weight than do adult healthy volunteers and that dosages of 4 mg/kg may be required in children to achieve exposures consistent with those in adults following dosages of 3 mg/kg.
PMCID: PMC415618  PMID: 15155217
22.  Efficacy of Gatifloxacin in Experimental Escherichia coli Meningitis 
The effectiveness of gatifloxacin therapy (15 mg/kg every 5 h [q5h]) was compared with that of meropenem (75 mg/kg q5h) and cefotaxime (75 mg/kg q5h) therapy in experimental meningitis caused by a β-lactamase-producing strain of Escherichia coli. Gatifloxacin therapy was more rapidly bactericidal than cefotaxime but similar to meropenem therapy (bacterial killing rates at 5 h, 0.83 ± 0.26, 0.46 ± 0.3, and 0.73 ± 0.17 CFU/ml/h, respectively; P = 0.03 for gatifloxacin versus cefotaxime). At 10 h, seven of eight animals treated with gatifloxacin had <10 CFU/ml in their cerebrospinal fluid, compared with one of seven treated with cefotaxime therapy (P = 0.01). Gatifloxacin was at least as effective as currently available antibiotics in this model of E. coli meningitis.
PMCID: PMC89371  PMID: 10390250
23.  Pharmacodynamics of Vancomycin for the Treatment of Experimental Penicillin- and Cephalosporin-Resistant Pneumococcal Meningitis 
With the emergence of β-lactam antibiotic resistance among strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae, vancomycin has assumed an important role in the treatment of bacterial meningitis. Using the rabbit meningitis model, we evaluated the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of vancomycin in this setting. Animals were given 80 mg/kg of body weight daily in two or four divided doses to determine the penetration and activity of vancomycin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF); each regimen was administered with and without dexamethasone. Mean peak (2 h) concentrations in CSF that were four- to eightfold higher than the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC; 0.5 μg/ml) for the pathogen were adequate for bacterial clearance. In both groups concentrations in CSF remained higher than the MBC for greater than 80% of the respective dosing intervals, and the penetration of vancomycin into CSF was 20%. Mean concentrations in CSF at 24 to 36 h of therapy were lower than those achieved during the first 12 h, consistent with a decline in the level of antibiotic entry into CSF as inflammation wanes. Rates of bacterial clearance were similar for the two regimens, and for all animals cultures of CSF were sterile by 36 h. The coadministration of dexamethasone significantly reduced the penetration of vancomycin into CSF by 29% and significantly lowered the rate of bacterial clearance during the first 6 h in animals receiving 20-mg/kg doses of vancomycin. For animals receiving 40-mg/kg doses, therapeutic peak concentrations in CSF were obtained even with steroid use, suggesting that the effect of steroids may be circumvented by the use of larger daily doses of vancomycin.
PMCID: PMC89220  PMID: 10103194
24.  Pharmacodynamics of Gatifloxacin in Cerebrospinal Fluid in Experimental Cephalosporin-Resistant Pneumococcal Meningitis 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  1998;42(10):2650-2655.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pharmacodynamics of a new fluoroquinolone, gatifloxacin (AM-1155), in experimental pneumococcal meningitis. The penetration of gatifloxacin into CSF, calculated as the percentage of the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) in CSF over the AUC in blood, was 46 to 56%. Gatifloxacin showed linear pharmacokinetics in CSF, and 1 h after intravenous dosages of 7.5, 15, or 30 mg/kg of body weight, peak CSF concentrations were 0.46 ± 0.08 (mean ± standard deviation), 0.94 ± 0.16, and 1.84 ± 0.5 μg/ml, respectively. The elimination half-life of gatifloxacin in CSF was 3.8 to 5.6 h (compared with 2.7 to 3.2 h in blood). There was a significant interrelationship among the highest measured values of gatifloxacin in blood and CSF/minimal bactericidal concentration (Cpeak/MBC), the time antibiotic concentrations exceeded the MBC (T > MBC), and AUC/MBC (r = 0.94); in single-dose experiments, each correlated significantly with the bacterial killing rate. Divided-dose regimens, resulting in greater T > MBC values but lower Cpeak/MBC ratios, were more effective in terms of bacterial clearance compared with corresponding single-dose regimens. Gatifloxacin therapy was as effective as currently recommended regimens (e.g., a combination of ceftriaxone and vancomycin) against this highly cephalosporin-resistant pneumococcal strain. The bactericidal activity of gatifloxacin in CSF was closely related to the AUC/MBC ratio, but maximal activity was achieved only when drug concentrations exceeded the MBC for the entire dosing interval.
PMCID: PMC105913  PMID: 9756771

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