Population pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam in neonates with seizures

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What is known and objective:

This study developed a population pharmacokinetic (PK) model of levetiracetam (LEV) for treating neonatal seizures (NS) and determined the influence of clinically relevant covariates to explain the interindividual variability and residual error.


Twenty newborns admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Hospital Central “Dr. Ignacio Morones Prieto” were included. LEV doses were administered by intermittent infusion. Blood samples were drawn 3 times post-infusion. Levetiracetam was quantified by a chromatographic technique. NONMEM software was used to determine the population PK model of LEV in neonates and the influence of clinical covariates on drug disposition.

Results and discussion:

The LEV PK in neonates is described by a one-compartment open model with first-order elimination. The influence of creatinine clearance (CRCL) and body weight (BW) on clearance (CL[L/h] = 0.47*CRCL), as well as the volume of the distribution (Vd[L] = 0.65*BW) of LEV, were confirmed, considering interindividual variabilities of 36% and 22%, respectively, and a residual error of 13%.

What is new and Conclusion:

Based on the PK of LEV in neonates and the influence of the final PK model, a priori dosing guidelines are proposed considering CRCL, BW and LEV plasma concentrations between 6 and 20 mg/L for NS treatment.

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