Pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the anilide local anaesthetics in neonates. 11 etidocaine
Recent concern over toxic effects of drugs in newborns, infants and children have stressed the need for better knowledge of drug kinetics during development. The present review focuses on the available data on clinical pharmacokientics in the neonate. Despite the lack of systematic approaches on drug disposition during the first month of life, the body of data currently available indicates profound differences in drug disposition between neonates and older infants, children and adults. In terms of physiological and anatomical factors the neonate has to be considered as a 'unique drug recipient'. For all the specific variables which govern the drug kinetic pattern (absorption, blood esterase activity, plasma protein binding, metabolic degradation and renal excretion), there are clear difference between neonates and older infants and children. Such differences are not always unidirectional. In the case of absorption, they depend on the maturational stage, but more on the physico-chemical properties of the individual compound. Esterase activiy and renal excretion are also related to the physico-chemical properties of the drug, but are more clearly linked with the development stage. Plasma protein blinding is generally reduced, and depends on several factors, not all of which are as yet clearly identified and understood. Biotransformation activities are usually very low, but may be increased several-fold by exposure to inducing agents. Hydroxylating activity and conjugation with glucronic acid appear to be the two metabolic pathways which are most defective at birth, while sulphate and gylcine conjugation, and dealkylation activities are close to the adult pattern. The material reviewed is fragmentary and does not always permit a comparison of the data obtained in newborns with those reported for adults. Differences in the methodology used and in the kinetic criteria further complicate the matter. It is, however, clearly emerging that drug disposition may vary greatly in the newborn in relation to its developmental age. The reported differences may be relevant for clinical practice and stress the need for more detailed information on drug kinetics in the neonate. Such information may be achieved by carefully planned clinical trials, but more meaningfully, and more profitably for the individual patient, by a very carefully, well integrated monitoring of the neonate a risk. By such an approach, where drug plasma levels are related to drug effects and to the pathophysiological condition, the significance of various factors on drug disportion during development will be better clarified, thus allowing a more rational and safer therapy in the newborn.