Physiology of the Neonatal Gastrointestinal System Relevant to the Disposition of Orally Administered Medications

  • Publication Date :
  • Publication Type : Journal Article
  • Author(s) : Neal-Kluever A, Fisher J, Grylack L, Kakiuchi-Kiyota S, & Halpern W
  • Journal Name : Drug Metabolism and Disposition

A thorough knowledge of the newborn (age, birth to 1 month postpartum) infant’s gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is critical to the evaluation of the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) of orally administered drugs in this population. Developmental changes in the GIT during the newborn period are important for nutrient uptake as well as the disposition of orally administered medications. Some aspects of gastrointestinal function do not mature until driven by increased dietary complexity and nutritional demands later in the postnatal period. The functionalities present at birth, and subsequent maturation, can also impact the ADME parameters of orally administered compounds. This review will examine some specific contributors to the ADME processes in human neonates, as well as what is currently understood about the drivers for their maturation. Key species differences will be highlighted, with a focus on laboratory animals used in juvenile toxicity studies. Because of the gaps and inconsistencies in our knowledge, we will also highlight areas where additional study is warranted to better inform the appropriate use of medicines specifically intended for neonates.

This review is part of a multisector collaborative research effort coordinated by the HESI Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) Committee to increase the knowledge base in the nonclinical neonatal space to better inform clinical treatment decisions made for the newborn patient population (De Schaepdrijver et al., 2018).

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