Medication follow-up in newborns with extremely low birth-weight

Keywords: Infant, Extremely Low Birth Weight, Birth Weight, Intensive Care Units, Neonatal, Pharmaceutical Services, Pharmacists, Length of Stay, Patient Care Team, Follow-Up Studies, Brazil


Objective: The medication follow-up in infants with extremely low birth-weight in a neonatal intensive care unit is described, identifying drug-related problems (DRP), drug-related negative outcomes, and the relationship between the occurrence of DRP and birth-weight of newborns and their impact on pharmacotherapy and length of hospital stay.

Methods: A descriptive and exploratory study was performed in which medication follow-up of a population of infants with extremely low birth-weight admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of a government-run maternity hospital was carried out by clinical pharmacists. Monitoring comprised assessment of patients’ pharmacotherapy needs through visits to the neonatal unit, evaluation of prescriptions and information on medical records, identification of issues associated with pharmacotherapy and follow-up of the newborns’ clinical evolution to determine whether desired results were achieved.

Results: The subjects were 33 infants characterized by extremely low weight at birth. Analysis of patients' pharmacotherapy showed that 39.4% (n=13) of the neonates presented some type of DRP, totaling 37 DRPs and a mean of 2.8 problems/patient. Fourteen drugs were identified with the occurrence of DRP. Vancomycin and cefepime were the most prevalent, with 18.9% (n=7). Occurrence of DRPs and several clinical characteristics of newborns and their pharmacotherapy were compared. The most prevalent drug-related negative outcomes identified were "untreated health problem" (40%, n=10) and "quantitative ineffectiveness" (32%, n=8). Pharmaceutical interventions were performed for all problems associated with pharmacotherapy, with a prevalence of "treatment day count correction" and "dose correction", both with 21.6% (n=8), and "correction of dosage" (16.2%, n=6).

Conclusion: The research evidenced the role of the clinical pharmacist in the solution and prevention of drug-related problems, contributing with the multidisciplinary team to obtain a safe and effective pharmacotherapy. Further, current study confirmed that there is an association between the characteristics of the newborns under analysis (eg. birth-weight, pharmacotherapy) and the occurrence of drug-related problems.


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Author Biography

Mylenne B. Mascarenhas




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How to Cite
Loureiro CV, Fonteles MM, Mascarenhas MB, Chaves EF, Firmino PY. Medication follow-up in newborns with extremely low birth-weight. Pharm Pract (Granada) [Internet]. 2019Nov.20 [cited 2020Aug.14];17(4):1584. Available from:
Original Research