Personalized Dosing of Medicines for Children: A Primer on Pediatric Pharmacometrics for Clinicians

Kevin Meesters*, Violeta Balbas-Martinez, Karel Allegaert, Kevin J. Downes, Robin Michelet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The widespread use of drugs for unapproved purposes remains common in children, primarily attributable to practical, ethical, and financial constraints associated with pediatric drug research. Pharmacometrics, the scientific discipline that involves the application of mathematical models to understand and quantify drug effects, holds promise in advancing pediatric pharmacotherapy by expediting drug development, extending applications, and personalizing dosing. In this review, we delineate the principles of pharmacometrics, and explore its clinical applications and prospects. The fundamental aspect of any pharmacometric analysis lies in the selection of appropriate methods for quantifying pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Population pharmacokinetic modeling is a data-driven method (‘top-down’ approach) to approximate population-level pharmacokinetic parameters, while identifying factors contributing to inter-individual variability. Model-informed precision dosing is increasingly used to leverage population pharmacokinetic models and patient data, to formulate individualized dosing recommendations. Physiologically based pharmacokinetic models integrate physicochemical drug properties with biological parameters (‘bottom-up approach’), and is particularly valuable in situations with limited clinical data, such as early drug development, assessing drug–drug interactions, or adapting dosing for patients with specific comorbidities. The effective implementation of these complex models hinges on strong collaboration between clinicians and pharmacometricians, given the pivotal role of data availability. Promising advancements aimed at improving data availability encompass innovative techniques such as opportunistic sampling, minimally invasive sampling approaches, microdialysis, and in vitro investigations. Additionally, ongoing research efforts to enhance measurement instruments for evaluating pharmacodynamics responses, including biomarkers and clinical scoring systems, are expected to significantly bolster our capacity to understand drug effects in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-379
Number of pages15
JournalPediatric Drugs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024

Bibliographical note

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© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024.


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