Adequate dosage recommendations are imperative for successful treatment of invasive infections. We evaluated the occurrence of sub- and supratherapeutic serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of benzylpenicillin (BPEN) in neonates treated for a severe group B streptococci (GBS) sepsis and/or meningitis as well as discrepancies in dosing recommendations provided by pediatric reference sources.
Retrospective analysis of (pre)term infants treated with BPEN undergoing therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) between May 2015 and May 2019. Outcomes included numbers of sub- and supratherapeutic concentrations, and dose adjustments, clinical evolution, and dosing recommendations from six pediatric reference sources.
A total of 21 TDM samples from 8 neonates were evaluated. Among serum concentrations, 9/21 (43%) were below and 8/21 (38%) above the pre-specified therapeutic target range of 10-20 mg/L. Only 1 patient had BPEN determined in CSF whose concentration was below the lower limit of quantification. TDM identified a need for dose modification in 10/21 (48%) instances. Three of eight patients exhibited complete resolution of clinical, laboratory and radiologic signs of infection. Substantial variation in dosing recommendations (50,000-400,000 IE/kg/d) was present between reference sources.
Our data reveal that under current dosage recommendations, the predefined target serum or CSF concentrations of BPEN are not achieved in all children. In case of clinical failure, serum and/or CSF BPEN concentrations should be determined. Given the wide variation in concentrations and subsequent dose requirements, further exploration of the clinical and pharmacologic characteristics of BPEN in (pre)term neonates is essential to optimize therapeutic efficacy.

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