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Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is an effective analgesic and antipyretic. It is commonly prescribed to treat mild to moderate pain and fever in adults, children and neonates.1 Paracetamol can be administered orally, rectally or by intravenous route. It is reasonable to assume that intravenous administration improves the prediction in concentration profile compared with enteral administration, through elimination of variability in bioavailability and absorption.1 2 Due to its more predictable pharmacokinetic (PK) profile, intravenous paracetamol seems attractive to treat (pre)term neonates with pain. However, the question remains which dosage regimen has to be given. Therefore, we discuss what dose of intravenous paracetamol should be given to treat neonates with pain, taken into account current literature on both PK and pharmacodynamics (safety).
Dosing guidelines in neonates
In Europe, intravenous paracetamol is registered for short-term treatment of pain in term, but not preterm neonates, with a dose of 7.5 mg/kg every 6 hours. In the USA, intravenous paracetamol is unlicensed below 2 years of age because the efficacy/safety balance in infants and neonates is questioned.1 Despite this lack of labelled dosing information, intravenous paracetamol is widely …
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