Pharmacokinetics of thiopental in the asphyxiated neonate.
The pharmacokinetic properties of thiopental were studied in 10 asphyxiated neonates (mean +/- SE; birth weight, 3,244 +/- 212 g; gestational age, 40 +/- 1 weeks) as part of a randomized, controlled trial which tested the ability of barbiturate therapy to decrease central nervous system damage secondary to perinatal asphyxia. Therapy was begun at a mean age of 2.3 h in all and was initially given as a loading dose of 15 mg/kg over 30 min followed by a constant infusion. The mean steady-state thiopental concentration was 13.4 +/- 3.7 micrograms/ml (mean +/- SD) and the average time to reach steady state was 7 +/- 5 h. Mean elimination half-life, plasma clearance and volume of distribution for thiopental were 39 h (range 26-70), 66 ml/(h x kg) (range 31-172), and 3.6 liters/kg (range 1.1-6.7), respectively. Arterial blood pressure support was required in 8 of 10 patients. While it appears feasible to give thiopental to the asphyxiated neonate at the reported infusion rates, the risk-benefit ratio is increased by the frequent associated hypotension and need for pharmacologic blood pressure support.
Garg, DC; Goldberg, RN; Woo-Ming, RB; Weidler, DJ
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