The Pharmacokinetics and Safety of Micafungin, a Novel Echinocandin, in Premature Infants

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Background:Candidal fungal infection rates in neonates are increasing and are a significant cause of mortality, especially in low birth weight infants. Micafungin is an echinocandin that works by inhibiting 1,3-β-D-glucan synthase, an enzyme responsible for fungal cell wall synthesis. The objective of this study was to determine the safety and pharmacokinetics of micafungin in premature infants.Methods:This was a phase I, single-dose, multicenter, open-label, sequential-dose trial of intravenous micafungin investigating 3 doses (0.75 mg/kg, 1.5 mg/kg and 3.0 mg/kg) in 18 premature infants weighing >1000 g (n = 6 in each dosage group). A further 5 infants (500–1000 g) were enrolled in the 0.75 mg/kg dosage group only.Results:The mean ± standard deviation gestational age in the >1000 g dosage group was 26.4 ± 2.4 weeks and, on entry, patients had one or more of a variety of underlying conditions, including sepsis, pneumonia and other infections caused by Candida or other species. Micafungin pharmacokinetics in preterm infants appears linear. However, premature infants >1000 g on average displayed a shorter half-life (8 hours) and a more rapid rate of clearance (approximately 39 mL/h per kg) compared with published data in older children and adults. All doses of micafungin were well tolerated and no serious drug-related adverse events were observed.Conclusions:Single doses of micafungin, ranging up to 3.0 mg/kg, appear well tolerated in premature infants weighing >1000 g. The drug's elimination half-life and total plasma clearance in preterm infants appear dissimilar to published values for these parameters in older children and adults. The reason(s) for this apparent difference remain to be investigated.

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