Extended-interval dosing of gentamicin for treatment of neonatal sepsis in developed and developing countries

Gary L. Darmstadt, Mary Miller-Bell, Maneesh Batra, Paul Law, Kiely Law

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Serious bacterial infections are the single most important cause of neonatal mortality in developing countries. Case-fatality rates for neonatal sepsis in developing countries are high, partly because of inadequate administration of necessary antibiotics. For the treatment of neonatal sepsis in resource-poor, high-mortality settings in developing countries where most neonatal deaths occur, simplified treatment regimens are needed. Recommended therapy for neonatal sepsis includes gentamicin, a parenteral aminoglycoside antibiotic, which has excellent activity against gram-negative bacteria, in combination with an antimicrobial with potent gram-positive activity. Traditionally, gentamicin has been administered 2-3 times daily. However, recent evidence suggests that extended-interval (i.e. >24 hours) dosing may be applicable to neonates. This review examines the available data from randomized and non-randomized studies of extended-interval dosing of gentamicin in neonates from both developed and developing countries. Available data on the use of gentamicin among neonates suggest that extended dosing intervals and higher doses (>4 mg/kg) confer a favourable pharmacokinetic profile, the potential for enhanced clinical efficacy and decreased toxicity at reduced cost. In conclusion, the following simplified weight-based dosing regimen for the treatment of serious neonatal infections in developing countries is recommended: 13.5 mg (absolute dose) every 24 hours for neonates of >2,500 g, 10 mg every 24 hours for neonates of 2,000-2,499 g, and 10 mg every 48 hours for neonates of <2,000 g.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-182
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Developing countries
  • Drug therapy
  • Gentamicin
  • Infant
  • Newborn
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Review literature
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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