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A–Z of prescribing for children

02 January 2024
Volume 6 · Issue 1


This series focuses on aspects of prescribing for neonates, children and young people, from A–Z. Aspects of pharmacokinetics will be considered, alongside legal considerations, consent and medications in schools

Distribution is the second part of the pharmacokinetic process after Absorption, and it is here where drugs pass from the bloodstream to the body’s organs and tissues. When prescribing for children, it is important to note that the specific properties of the drug have to be considered alongside the physiological aspects of the child or young person (Eidelman and Abdel-Rahman, 2016). The key factor to note with children is the volume of distribution (Vd) to be considered.

The Vd is important as it governs the drug’s loading dose value, and also determines the drug’s half life (Lu and Rosenbaum, 2014). The half life of a drug is the time taken for half of the administered drug to be eliminated from the body (Andrade, 2022), and is important to consider when calculating when to stop taking medications, or when the next dose is due. However, the total volume of distribution is impacted by total body water percentages, and adipose tissue, which may not directly be related to the child’s weight (Sage et al, 2014). This is also related to whether drugs are water soluble (for example, gentamicin) or fat soluble, like diazepam.

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