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Obesity might be a factor in how kids metabolize drugs

April 27, 2010 |  6:04 pm

Obesity could affect how children metabolize medication, according to a study presented this week.

Hq0328kf Researchers from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy tested 16 healthy-weight children and nine obese children ages 6 to 10 to see how they metabolized caffeine and dextromethorphan, the latter a cough suppressant found in over the counter medicines such as Robitussin DM. After analyzing the children's urine and saliva, they discovered that the obese kids did metabolize both substances differently.

Study co-author L'Aurelle Johnson explained the relevance of the findings in a news release: "We have known for years that drugs metabolize differently in obese adults as compared to healthy weight adults," said Johnson. "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." More work needs to be done, she said, to see what effect obesity could have on the absorption, metabolism and elimination of other drugs in children.

She added, "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."

The study was presented at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics annual meeting, part of the Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Gregorio Borgia / AP

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