To identify dosing strategies that will assure stable caffeine concentrations in preterm neonates despite changing caffeine clearance during the first 8 weeks of life.Methods
A 3-step simulation approach was used to compute caffeine doses that would achieve stable caffeine concentrations in the first 8 weeks after birth: (1) a mathematical weight change model was developed based on published weight distribution data; (2) a pharmacokinetic model was developed based on published models that accounts for individual body weight, postnatal, and gestational age on caffeine clearance and volume of distribution; and (3) caffeine concentrations were simulated for different dosing regimens.Results
A standard dosing regimen of caffeine citrate (using a 20 mg/kg loading dose and 5 mg/kg/day maintenance dose) is associated with a maximal trough caffeine concentration of 15 mg/L after 1 week of treatment. However, trough concentrations subsequently exhibit a clinically relevant decrease because of increasing clearance. Model-based simulations indicate that an adjusted maintenance dose of 6 mg/kg/day in the second week, 7 mg/kg/day in the third to fourth week and 8 mg/kg/day in the fifth to eighth week assures stable caffeine concentrations with a target trough concentration of 15 mg/L.Conclusions
To assure stable caffeine concentrations during the first 8 weeks of life, the caffeine citrate maintenance dose needs to be increased by 1 mg/kg every 1–2 weeks. These simple adjustments are expected to maintain exposure to stable caffeine concentrations throughout this important developmental period and might enhance both the short- and long-term beneficial effects of caffeine treatment.