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A Study to Describe the Pharmacokinetics of Acyclovir in Premature Infants (PTN_Acyclo)

Information source: Duke University
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Herpes Simplex Virus; Neonatal Sepsis

Intervention: Acyclovir (Drug)

Phase: Phase 1

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: Phillip Brian Smith

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Phillip B Smith, M.D., Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Duke University


Acyclovir is a drug used to treat herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections in babies. Appropriate dosing of acyclovir is known for adults and children but acyclovir has not been adequately studied in full-term or premature neonates. HSV is a very serious infection in babies <6 months of age and often results in death or profound mental retardation. HSV leads to profound mental retardation in young infants because the virus attacks the central nervous system. The investigators hypothesize that the currently recommended dose of acyclovir is inadequate to produce adequate blood levels to combat herpes simplex infection. The investigators propose to study acyclovir levels in the blood of babies who are placed on acyclovir to treat a suspected HSV infection. This will allow them to determine the appropriate dose in premature infants. This is an unmet public health need because it is likely that the drug behaves differently in premature infants than it does in term infants and older children. Premature babies have more body water and less body tissue. Their kidneys are more immature and do not function as well as full term infants. Premature neonates are also at the greatest risk from herpes infection because they have poorly functioning immature immune systems. Early and appropriate treatment with acyclovir has resulted in improved outcome in term infants.

Clinical Details

Official title: An Open Label Study to Describe the Pharmacokinetics of Acyclovir in Premature Infants

Study design: Allocation: Non-Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Pharmacokinetics Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome:

Clearance (CL)

Volume of Distribution (V)

Half-life (T1/2)

Maximum Steady State Concentration (Cmaxss)

Steady State Concentration at 50% of the Dosing Interval (C50ss)

Minimum Steady State Concentration (Cminss)

Detailed description: Neonatal herpes infection carries a major risk of death if untreated. Prognosis is related to disease extent and timing of therapy, making early diagnosis crucial. Mortality in the pre-antiviral era was 90% for disseminated disease and 50% for central nervous system (CNS) disease. Institution of high-dose (60 mg/kg/day) antiviral therapy with acyclovir has reduced mortality to 31% for disseminated disease and 6% for CNS disease. 1 Although acyclovir has reduced mortality dramatically, morbidity remains high. Study population: Infants < 45 days postnatal age, suspected to have a systemic infection divided into groups by gestational and postnatal age: Group-1: 23-29 weeks gestational age, <14 days postnatal age Group-2: 23-29 weeks gestational age, 14-44 days postnatal age Group-3: 30-34 weeks gestational age, <45 days postnatal age Intravenous acyclovir will be administered for 3 days. Timing of PK sample collection will be with respect to the end of each IV infusion. Timed PK sampling will be drawn at doses 1, and doses 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9. Dose 1: 0-15 minutes after completion of the 1st dose; Within 30 minutes prior to administration of 2nd dose Steady state [doses 5 or 6 (groups 1 and 2), doses 8 or 9 (group 3)]: Within 30 minutes prior to dose; 0-15 minutes after completion of the dose; 2-3 hours after completion of the dose; Within 30 minutes prior to administration of the next dose Last dose: 6-7 hours after the last dose (groups 1 and 2)and 10-11 hours after the last dose (group 3)


Minimum age: N/A. Maximum age: 45 Days. Gender(s): Both.


The investigator or other study site personnel will document in the source documents (e. g., the hospital chart) that informed consent was obtained. Laboratory tests or non-pharmacologic treatment procedures that were performed as standard of care within 72 hours prior to first dose of study drug may be used for screening procedures and recorded in the CRF. Inclusion Criteria 1. < 45 days of age at the time of initial study drug administration. 2. Sufficient venous access to permit administration of study medication. 3. Availability and willingness of the parent/legal guardian to provide written informed consent. 4. Suspected HSV sepsis OR At least two (2) of the following

- Signs of sepsis AND negative blood cultures for >24 hours7

- Respiratory distress8

- Lethargy8

- Fever ≥ 38. 0°C7

- Skin lesions7,8

- Seizures (clinical OR EEG confirmed)7

- Irritability7

- AST OR ALT >2 X upper limit of normal7,8

- >20 WBCs/µL or >500 RBCs/µL7

Exclusion Criteria 1. History of anaphylaxis attributed to acyclovir. 2. Serum creatinine >1. 7 mg/dL. 3. Urine output <0. 5 mL/kg/hour over the previous 12 hours 4. Previous participation in the study. 5. Concomitant condition, which in the opinion of the investigator would preclude a participant's participation in the study

Locations and Contacts

Wesely Medical Center, Wichita, Kansas 67214-4976, United States

Tulane School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, United States

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27713, United States

Additional Information

Related publications:

Whitley RJ. Herpes simplex virus infection. Semin Pediatr Infect Dis. 2002 Jan;13(1):6-11. Review.

Kimberlin DW, Lin CY, Jacobs RF, Powell DA, Corey L, Gruber WC, Rathore M, Bradley JS, Diaz PS, Kumar M, Arvin AM, Gutierrez K, Shelton M, Weiner LB, Sleasman JW, de Sierra TM, Weller S, Soong SJ, Kiell J, Lakeman FD, Whitley RJ; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Collaborative Antiviral Study Group. Safety and efficacy of high-dose intravenous acyclovir in the management of neonatal herpes simplex virus infections. Pediatrics. 2001 Aug;108(2):230-8.

Lietman PS. Acyclovir clinical pharmacology. An overview. Am J Med. 1982 Jul 20;73(1A):193-6. Review.

Englund JA, Fletcher CV, Balfour HH Jr. Acyclovir therapy in neonates. J Pediatr. 1991 Jul;119(1 Pt 1):129-35.

Blum MR, Liao SH, de Miranda P. Overview of acyclovir pharmacokinetic disposition in adults and children. Am J Med. 1982 Jul 20;73(1A):186-92. Review.

Hintz M, Connor JD, Spector SA, Blum MR, Keeney RE, Yeager AS. Neonatal acyclovir pharmacokinetics in patients with herpes virus infections. Am J Med. 1982 Jul 20;73(1A):210-4.

Yeager AS. Use of acyclovir in premature and term neonates. Am J Med. 1982 Jul 20;73(1A):205-9.

Pickering LK. Red Book. 28th ed. Elk Grove Village, Illinois: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009.

Kimberlin DW. When should you initiate acyclovir therapy in a neonate? J Pediatr. 2008 Aug;153(2):155-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.04.027.

Brigden D, Bye A, Fowle AS, Rogers H. Human pharmacokinetics of acyclovir (an antiviral agent) following rapid intravenous injection. J Antimicrob Chemother. 1981 Apr;7(4):399-404.

Feldman S, Rodman J, Gregory B. Excessive serum concentrations of acyclovir and neurotoxicity. J Infect Dis. 1988 Feb;157(2):385-8.

Starting date: September 2011
Last updated: November 19, 2013

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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