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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ameer, B. and Weintraub, M.A. (2020), Dosing Common Medications in Hospitalized Pediatric Patients with Obesity: A Review. Obesity, 28: 1013-1022, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


Medication management in children and adolescents with obesity is challenging since both developmental and pathophysiologic changes may impact drug disposition and response. Evidence to date indicates an effect of obesity on drug disposition for certain drugs used in this population. This work identified published studies evaluating drug dosing, pharmacokinetics, and effect in pediatric patients with obesity, focusing on 70 common medications used in a pediatric network of 42 U.S. medical centers. A PubMed search revealed 33 studies providing pharmacokinetic and/or effectiveness data for 23% (16/70) of medications, 44% of which have just one study and can be considered exploratory. This work appraising 4 decades of literature shows several promising approaches: greater use of pharmacokinetic models applied to prospective clinical studies, dosing recommendations derived from both pharmacokinetics and safety, and multi-year effectiveness data on drugs for chronic conditions (e.g., asthma). Most studies make dose recommendations, but are weakened by retrospective study design, small study populations, and no controls or historic controls. Dosing decisions continue to rely on extrapolating knowledge, including targeting systemic drug exposure typically achieved in adults. Optimal weight-based dosing strategies vary by drug and warrant prospective, controlled studies incorporating pharmacokinetics and modeling and simulation to complement clinical assessment.



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