International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 238–242 | Cite as

Harmful excipients in medicines for neonates in Spain

  • Beatriz Garcia-PalopEmail author
  • Emma Movilla Polanco
  • Carmen Cañete Ramirez
  • Maria Jose Cabañas Poy
Short Research Report


Background Neonates may respond differently from adults to drug components. Hence, ingredients that seem safe in adults may not be safe in this age group. Objective To describe the content of harmful excipients in drugs used in our neonatal wards and compare the daily dose a neonate may receive with the accepted daily intake (ADI) in adults. Methods All drugs included in the hospital’s neonatal treatment guide were reviewed, using information from the package inserts or the summary of product characteristics. Those containing at least one harmful excipient (e.g., metabisulfite, sorbitol) were analyzed. Minimum and maximum usual daily drug doses were determined, and excipient exposure was estimated by extrapolation of the minimum and maximum of excipient referred to the active ingredient. These amounts were compared with ADIs for each excipient in adults. Results In total, 32 % of intravenous and 62 % of oral formulations used in neonates contained at least one harmful excipient. On quantitative analysis, 25 % of intravenous and 19 % of oral drugs contained harmful excipients exceeding the ADI in adults. Conclusion Several drugs commonly used to treat neonates contain harmful excipients in amounts that may exceed the ADI in adults. Clinicians should be aware of this to prescribe appropriate treatment in this population.


Excipients Neonatal care Pediatrics Spain 




Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pharmacy ServiceVall d’Hebron University HospitalBarcelonaSpain

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