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World J Crit Care Med. 2015 May 4; 4(2): 139–151.

Abstract

This review is intended to help clinicians design drug regimens for special populations of critically ill patients with extremes of body size, habitus and composition that make drug choice or dosing particularly challenging due to the lack of high-level evidence on which to make well-informed clinical decisions. The data sources included a literature search of MEDLINE and EMBASE with reviews of reference lists of retrieved articles. Abstracts of original research investigations and review papers were reviewed for their relevance to drug choice or dosing in the following special critically ill populations: patients with more severe forms of bodyweight or height, patients with amputations or missing limbs, pregnant patients, and patients undergoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or plasma exchange. Relevant papers were retrieved and evaluated, and their associated reference lists were reviewed for citations that may have been missed through the electronic search strategy. Relevant original research investigations and review papers that could be used to formulate general principles for drug choice or dosing in special populations of critically ill patients were extracted. Randomized studies with clinically relevant endpoints were not available for performing quantitative analyses. Critically ill patients with changes in body size, habitus and composition require special consideration when designing medication regimens, but there is a paucity of literature on which to make drug-specific, high-level evidence-based recommendations. Based on the evidence that is available, general recommendations are provided for drug choice or dosing in special critically ill populations.

Keywords: Drug dosage calculations, Pharmacokinetics, Critical care, Body composition, Obesity, Pregnancy

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