Randomized Population Pharmacokinetic Analysis and Safety of Intravenous Acetaminophen for Acute Postoperative Pain in Neonates and Infants

Gregory B. Hammer, Lynne G. Maxwell, Brad M. Taicher, Mihaela Visoiu, David S. Cooper, Peter Szmuk, Leng Hong Pheng, Nathalie H. Gosselin, Jia Lu, Krishna Devarakonda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Intravenous administration of acetaminophen is an alternative to the oral and rectal routes, which may be contraindicated in particular clinical settings. This randomized, placebo-controlled study of intravenous acetaminophen (Ofirmev, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Bedminster, New Jersey) in neonate and infant patients with acute postoperative pain assessed pharmacokinetics (PK) and safety, in addition to efficacy and pharmacodynamics of repeated doses administered over 24 hours. Neonate and infant patients (<2 years of age) who were undergoing surgery or had experienced a traumatic injury and were expected to need pain management for at least 24 hours were enrolled. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive intravenous acetaminophen low dose, intravenous acetaminophen high dose, or placebo. A population PK model of intravenous acetaminophen was updated by combining 581 samples from the current study of 158 neonate and infant subjects with results from a previously developed model. The individual predicted-versus-observed concentrations plots showed that the structural PK model fit the blood and plasma acetaminophen concentration-versus-time profiles in the active and placebo groups. Terminal elimination half-life was prolonged in neonates and younger infants and in intermediate and older infants similar to values in adults. When compared with placebo, total rescue opioid consumption was similar and significantly fewer intravenous acetaminophen patients prematurely discontinued because of treatment-emergent adverse events (P <.01). For intravenous acetaminophen, neonates receiving 12.5 mg/kg every 6 hours had PK profiles similar to younger, intermediate, and older infants, adolescents, and adults weighing <50 kg receiving 15 mg/kg every 6 hours and adults ≥ 50 kg receiving 1000 mg every 6 hours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-27
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of clinical pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • acetaminophen
  • acute postoperative pain
  • infants
  • neonates
  • opioids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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