Obese or overweight children metabolize drugs in a different way as compared to normal-weight kids, a new study has revealed.
As part of the study, researchers from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy evaluated drug metabolism in sixteen healthy weight children and nine obese children.
"We have known for years that drugs metabolize differently in obese adults as compared to healthy weight adults. But, there has been very little, if any, information available that specifically addresses the consequences of obesity on drug metabolism in children. Without this information, our ability to identify optimal drug dosing in children often relies on trial and error approaches," said L'Aurelle Johnson in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacy.
In the study, Johnson and co-author Manoj Chiney examined drug metabolizing enzyme activity in healthy weight and obese children, age 6 to 10 years old.
Specifically, they looked at how the children metabolized caffeine and dextromethorphan, a key ingredient in the cough suppressant Robitussin DM.
They found that obese children metabolized both drugs at different rates than healthy weight children.
Johnson said this finding is the first of many steps in determining the overall effect of obesity on drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination in children.
She plans to conduct additional research to define the activity of other drug metabolizing enzymes that may also be altered in the pediatric population as a result of obesity.
"Collectively, such knowledge concerning key factors that impact activity of drug metabolizing enzymes in children will have a significant positive impact on the development of optimal drug dosing regiments in children in order to maximize efficacy, while minimizing potential adverse drug effects, in the treatment of serious diseases such as cancer," said Johnson.
Johnson will present the research at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics annual meeting.