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Neonatal care: the sick neonate

By Robert Tinnion, MBBS, MRCPCH, and Nicola Vasey, MPharm, MRPharmS

Premature baby (Hank Morgan  Science Photo Library)

Preterm babies on neonatal intensive care units usually require respiratory and nutritional support, as well as treatment for specific complications, such as sepsis and necrotising enterocolitis    


Management of preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units can be broadly categorised as supportive or reactive. Supportive care aims to maintain normal homeostatic functioning through respiratory, cardiac and nutritional support. Reactive care involves treatment of a neonate’s medical complications, such as sepsis, patent ductus arteriosus, necrotising enterocolitis, retinopathy of prematurity or neurological issues.

Use of medicines in preterm infants can be complicated, since there is often little evidence for their use. Practical challenges with formulation and administration are also common.     

Robert Tinnion is a research fellow in neonatal medicine and Nicola Vasey is lead clinical pharmacist for women’s and children’s services, both at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.



Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 11102022

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