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Pharmacol Toxicol. 1995 Apr;76(4):259-62.

Malnutrition and pharmacokinetics of penicillin in Ethiopian children.

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Ethio-Swedish Children's Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Penicillin was given to 104 children with different nutritional status, normal, underweight, marasmus and kwashiorkor. Penicillin was given either intravenously, intramuscularly or orally and the plasma concentration was followed at regular times after administration. There was a significantly decreased plasma clearance of penicillin in all malnourished groups compared to the normal weight-for-age group. The half-lives of penicillin were, however, not significantly different between the nutritional groups. This was explained by the fact that also the volume of distribution was decreased in the malnourished group with a net result that the half-life was unchanged. The bioavailability was decreased if penicillin was given to non-fasting individuals. The greatest difference between fasting and non-fasting was seen in the severely malnourished children with marasmus and kwashiorkor. Therefore, it is advised that, if penicillin is given orally to very sick and undernourished children, the dose should be increased and preferably be given in the fasting state.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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