Serum amoxicillin levels in young infants (0-59 days) with sepsis treated with oral amoxicillin

Fatima Mir, Robin E. Pearce, Naila Baig-Ansari, Shamim Qazi, Jeffrey S. Barrett, Susan Abdel-Rahman, Greg Kearns, Anita K.M. Zaidi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: WHO recommends simplified antibiotics for young infants with sepsis in countries where hospitalisation is not feasible. Amoxicillin provides safe, Gram-positive coverage. This study was done to determine pharmacokinetics, drug disposition and interpopulation variability of oral amoxicillin in this demographic. Methods: Young infants with signs of sepsis enrolled in an oral amoxicillin/intramuscular gentamicin treatment arm of a sepsis trial in Karachi, Pakistan, were studied. Limited pharmacokinetic (PK) sampling was performed at 0, 2-3 and 6-8 hours following an index dose of oral amoxicillin. Plasma concentrations were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Values of ≥2 mg/L were considered as the effect threshold, given the regional minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. Results: Amoxicillin concentrations were determined in 129 samples from 60 young infants. Six of 44 infants had positive blood cultures with predominant Gram-positive organisms. Forty-four infants contributing blood at ≥2 of 3 specified timepoints were included in the analysis. Mean amoxicillin levels at 2-3 hours (11.6±9.5 mg/L, n=44) and 6-8 hours (16.4±9.3 mg/L, n=20) following the index dose exceeded the MIC for amoxicillin (2.0 mg/L) against resistant S. pneumoniae strains. Of 20 infants with three serum levels, 7 showed a classic dose-exposure profile and 13 showed increasing concentrations with time, implying delayed absorption or excretion. Conclusion: Amoxicillin concentrations in sera of young infants following oral administration at 75-100 mg/kg/day daily divided doses exceeds the susceptibility breakpoint for >50% of a 12-hour dosing interval. Oral amoxicillin may hold potential as a safe replacement of parenteral ampicillin in newborn sepsis regimens, including aminoglycosides, where hospitalisation is not feasible. Trial registration number: NCT01027429.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • SATT Pakistan
  • oral amoxicillin
  • population pharmacokinetics
  • young infants


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