Changing patterns of drug utilization in a neonatal intensive care population

Wei Du, Indulekha Warrier, Victoria Tutag Lehr, Vali Salari, Enrique Ostrea, Jacob V. Aranda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) typically are exposed to a large number of drugs and are especially vulnerable to adverse drug reactions. It is important to review changes in drug use patterns periodically in the NICU to identify newly introduced drugs as well as drugs with increasing use. The objective of this study was to determine the changes in drug utilization patterns over a 7-year period in an NICU population. Drug utilization of 2332 neonates treated at an intramural NICU between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1998, and 2691 neonates between January 1, 2001 and June 30, 2004 was analyzed using chi-square tests, t tests, and linear regression. There was an increased utilization of antibiotics, central nervous system drugs, endocrine agents, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal drugs, and a decreased utilization of ophthalmic drugs. No changes in nutritional, biological, renal, and pulmonary drugs were observed. Some individual drug changes include an increased use of vancomycin, cefepime, caffeine, and a decreased use of morphine. Significant changes in drug utilization patterns in an NICU were observed during a 7-year period. These data are useful in monitoring drug resistance patterns, adverse drug reactions, and prioritizing areas of relevant therapeutic research and educational programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-285
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006


  • Drug utilization
  • NICU
  • Neonate
  • Premature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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