Prolonged post-discontinuation antibiotic exposure in very low birth weight neonates at risk for early-onset sepsis

The Administrative Core Committee of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act-Pediatric Trials Network

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Premature, very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates are at risk for early-onset sepsis and receive ampicillin and gentamicin post-birth. Antimicrobial stewardship supports short-course antibiotics, but how long antibiotic concentrations remain therapeutic post-last dose is unknown. Methods: Using Monte Carlo simulations (NONMEM 7.3), we analyzed antibiotic exposures in a retrospective cohort of 34 689 neonates (<1500 g, 22-27 weeks of gestation). Therapeutic exposure for ampicillin and gentamicin was evaluated relative to the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for common pathogens (MIC 0.25-8 mcg/mL for group B streptococcus [GBS] and Escherichia coli). Post-discontinuation antibiotic exposure (PDAE) was defined as the time from the last dose to time when concentration decreased below MIC. Results: Neonates had a median (range) gestational age of 26 (22-27) weeks and BW, 790 g (400-1497). All ampicillin dosing regimens (50-100 mg/kg every 8-12 hours for 2-6 doses) achieved therapeutic exposures > MIC range. After the last dose, the PDAE mean (95% confidence interval [CI]) ranged from 34 to 50 hours (17-79) for E. coli (MIC 8) and 82 to 104 hours (95% CI: 39-122) for GBS (MIC 0.25); longer PDAE occurred with higher dose, shorter interval, and longer course. Short-course ampicillin (2 doses, 50 mg/kg every 12 hours) provided PDAE 34 hours for E. coli and 82 hours for GBS. Single-dose 5 mg/kg gentamicin provided PDAE > MIC 2 for 26 hours. Conclusions: In VLBW neonates, ampicillin exposure remains therapeutic long after the last dose. Short-course ampicillin provided therapeutic exposures throughout the typical blood culture incubation period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-621
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Prolonged post-discontinuation antibiotic exposure in very low birth weight neonates at risk for early-onset sepsis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this