Pharmacovigilance of nephrotoxic drugs in neonates: the Pottel method for acute kidney injury detection in ELBW neonates

Mathilde Dumoulin, Hans Pottel, Djalila Mekahli, Annouschka Laenen, Anne Smits, Karel Allegaert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review



Extremely low birth weight (ELBW) neonates (birth weight ≤ 1000 g) are at high risk to develop drug-induced acute kidney injury (AKI). However, we lack a pragmatic detection tool to capture their time-dependent (patho)physiologic serum creatinine (Scr) patterns. Pottel et al. suggested rescaling Scr by dividing Scr with the mean Scr value of the age- and sex-specific reference population. We explored if this Pottel method can detect drug-related nephrotoxicity in ELBW neonates. 


A previously reported dataset on Scr changes in ELBW neonates exposed to ibuprofen, amikacin, or vancomycin was updated to calculate Pottel scores for every available Scr value in the first 28 postnatal days. We hereby used previously published postnatal age-specific 50th centile values in an ELBW population. Linear mixed models were applied, analyzing Pottel scores as response variable and continuous time (day), drug exposure, and interaction thereof in the explanatory model. 


Serum creatinine (n = 3231) observations in 201 ELBW neonates were collected. A statistically significant rise of Pottel scores was observed with ibuprofen starting from postnatal day 4. In addition, a cumulative effect of treatment with mean Pottel scores on day 0 of 1.020 and on day 3 during treatment of 1.106 (95% CI 1.068–1.145, p < 0.001) was observed, corrected for effect of antibiotics. Antibiotic administrations showed a small but statistically significant difference up to postnatal day 5. 


As rescaled Scr biomarker, the Pottel method showed a clear association with ibuprofen-exposed ELBW neonates, suggesting its applicability as a pragmatic bedside alternative tool to assess nephrotoxicity. Graphical abstract: (Figure presented.)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2525-2532
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2024

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