Objectives: The aims of the study were in a large group of neonates to identify the relative effect of bodyweight, postnatal age, and gestational age on zidovudine (ZDV) pharmacokinetics; to link concentrations with lactate and hemoglobin levels; and to find the more appropriate neonatal ZDV dose.
Methods: In 484 neonates aged 3–30 days, born to HIV-infected mothers, 767 ZDV and 417 ZDV glucuronide concentrations were collected.
Results: Using a population approach, ZDV clearance per kilogram increased with postnatal age but not with gestational age. High neonatal exposures were found as follows: 14,025 ng/mL·h the first week and 6528 ng/mL·h the second week in comparison to 3000 ng/mL·h in adults. At month 1, median lactate level was 2.8 mmol/L (60%, ≥2.5 mmol/L) and median hemoglobin was 10.1 g/dL (90%, <12 g/dL). ZDV trough concentrations at first sampling (days 3–7) or at last sampling (day 20 ± 10) were significantly negatively correlated to hemoglobin at months 1, 3, and 6 (P < 0.02). ZDV maximal or trough concentrations at days 3–7 and at day 20 ± 10 were significantly positively correlated to lactate levels at months 3 and 6, respectively.
Conclusions: To obtain an exposure comparable to adults, which should reduce neonatal toxicity, doses should to be decreased during the first 2 weeks of life.