Background: Phenobarbital and midazolam are commonly used drugs in (near-)term neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia for hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, for sedation, and/or as anti-epileptic drug. Phenobarbital is an inducer of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A, while midazolam is a CYP3A substrate. Therefore, co-treatment with phenobarbital might impact midazolam clearance. Objectives: To assess pharmacokinetics and clinical anti-epileptic effectiveness of phenobarbital and midazolam in asphyxiated neonates and to develop dosing guidelines. Methods: Data were collected in the prospective multicentre PharmaCool study. In the present study, neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia and receiving midazolam and/or phenobarbital were included. Plasma concentrations of phenobarbital and midazolam including its metabolites were determined in blood samples drawn on days 2–5 after birth. Pharmacokinetic analyses were performed using non-linear mixed effects modelling; clinical effectiveness was defined as no use of additional anti-epileptic drugs. Results: Data were available from 113 (phenobarbital) and 118 (midazolam) neonates; 68 were treated with both medications. Only clearance of 1-hydroxy midazolam was influenced by hypothermia. Phenobarbital co-administration increased midazolam clearance by a factor 2.3 (95% CI 1.9–2.9, p < 0.05). Anticonvulsant effectiveness was 65.5% for phenobarbital and 37.1% for addon midazolam. Conclusions: Therapeutic hypothermia does not influence clearance of phenobarbital or midazolam in (near-)term neonates with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. A phenobarbital dose of 30 mg/kg is advised to reach therapeutic concentrations. Phenobarbital co-administration significantly increased midazolam clearance. Should phenobarbital be substituted by non-CYP3A inducers as first-line anticonvulsant, a 50% lower midazolam maintenance dose might be appropriate to avoid excessive exposure during the first days after birth.,
Neonatology: fetal and neonatal research
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Favie, L.M.A., Groenendaal, F., van den Broek, T., Rademaker, C.M.A., de Haan, T. R., van Straaten, H.L., … Camfferman, FA. (2019). Phenobarbital, Midazolam Pharmacokinetics, Effectiveness, and Drug-Drug Interaction in Asphyxiated Neonates Undergoing Therapeutic Hypothermia. Neonatology: fetal and neonatal research, 116(2), 154–162. doi:10.1159/000499330