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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2011 May;91(3):196-207. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Mar 22.

The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of rifampicin in adults and children in relation to the dosage recommended for children.

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Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and Tygerberg Children's Hospital, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.


The dosages of antituberculosis agents recommended for treatment of childhood tuberculosis often reflect those for adult patients with similar mg/kg body weight dosages and ranges advised. Literature relating to the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of rifampicin (RMP) is reviewed and the serum concentrations reached by adults, both patients and healthy volunteers and children, established or not established on RMP, compared. Straight line regression of maximum RMP serum concentrations (C(max)) on dosage, weighted for the number of individuals, found slopes (SE) of 1.025 (0.067) and 0.881 (0.046) respectively for adult volunteers not established and established on RMP (P = 0.076), and similarly 0.748 (0.057) and 0.684 (0.038) respectively for adult patients (P < 0.001) and 0.622 (0.050) and 0.368 (0.041) respectively for children (P < 0.001). These results indicate that for equivalent RMP dosages adult patients reach a lower C(max) than adult volunteers and that adults, both volunteers and patients established on RMP reach higher C(max) values than children; children established on RMP require approximately twice the mg/kg body weight dosage of RMP to reach serum concentrations equivalent to those of adults. It is noteworthy that many adult patients receiving currently recommended RMP dosages also do not reach the often recommended RMP 2 h serum concentration of 8 μg/mL.

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