Twenty four neonates at high risk of anaerobic sepsis were treated with intravenous metronidazole, 7.5 mg/kg, 8 hourly, for a mean period of 5 days. The highest observed concentration after the first dose (mean +/- SD) 9.6 +/- 4.0 mg/l (56.1 +/- 23.4 mumol/l) was significantly lower (P less than 0.001) than the highest observed concentration after the final dose (mean +/- SD) 19.3 +/- 8.6 mg/l (112.7 +/- 50.2 mumol/l). The overall metronidazole half life was (mean +/- SD) 23.4 +/- 13.1 hours. The half life after the first dose (mean +/- SD) 21.9 +/- 10.1 hours was not appreciably different from the half life after the final dose (mean +/- SD) 21.6 +/- 12.4 hours. The concentrations of the major metabolite of metronidazole (20396RP) also rose appreciably during treatment. No side effects of metronidazole were noted and its extended half life in neonates suggests that less frequent dosage would be appropriate.
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