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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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The Cumulative Daily Tolerance Levels of Potentially Toxic Excipients Ethanol and Propylene Glycol Are Commonly Exceeded in Neonates and Infants

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Polymedicated neonates and young infants may be at risk of harmful cumulative exposure to toxic excipients like ethanol, propylene glycol and benzyl alcohol during routine clinical care. The aim of this study was to calculate the cumulative daily alcohol exposure (mg/kg/day) in polymedicated neonates and infants and compare these levels to the tolerance limits found in guidelines published by European Medicines Agency (EMA). As part of the SEEN study, all medicinal products administered to neonates and infants were recorded. All included neonates received ≥2 medicinal products/day and infants ≥3 medicinal products/day. Daily excipient levels were calculated based on quantities obtained from manufacturers or databases. Excipient levels were compared to tolerance limits proposed by the EMA. Altogether, 470 neonates and 160 infants were included, recording 4207 prescriptions and 316 products. In total, 45% (n = 288) of patients were exposed to an alcohol of interest; 2% (n = 14) were exposed to benzyl alcohol (BA), 38% (n = 237) to ethanol and 23% (n = 146) to propylene glycol (PG). Of the total number of prescriptions involving ethanol-containing medicinal products (n = 334), 51% would alone exceed tolerance limit of 6 mg/kg/day. Of the total number of prescriptions involving PG-containing medicinal products (n = 174), 70% would alone exceed a maximum tolerance limit of 50 mg/kg/day. Maximal daily exposure to ethanol (1563 mg/kg/day) or PG (954 mg/kg/day) exceeded the tolerance limits recommended by EMA 260.5 and 19.1 times, respectively. Tolerance limits for ethanol and PG as proposed by the EMA are frequently exceeded in polymedicated neonates and infants due to the cumulative effect of these alcohols. Alternative formulations may minimize excipient exposure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBasic & clinical pharmacology & toxicology
Volume122
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)523-530
ISSN1742-7843
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52590417