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Pharmacological Therapies for Pediatric and Neonatal ALI/ARDS: An Evidence-Based Review

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Acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are life-threating conditions still lacking a definite therapy and carrying a high mortality and morbidity, especially in children and infants. Albeit respiratory assistance and supportive therapies are crucial for ALI/ARDS, many drugs have been proposed to treat such syndromes through various mechanisms of action. On the whole the pharmacological therapy might play an important role in such a complex clinical situation but few evidence based data are available in pediatric and neonatal critical care. This review will focus on drugs directly available on the bedside, that is, medicines already administered in the practice or investigated in at least one clinical study. We will value the differences due to patient’s age and the various causes of the syndrome, that may affect the response to the pharmacological therapy. A special attention will be given to the drugs directly deliverable into the lungs, as this strategy allows a total availability to the lung tissue. The experimental background behind each drug will be discussed and then clinical data in neonates and infants will be presented, if available. Data coming from adult critical care and thought to be somehow pertinent for the pediatric setting will otherwise be reviewed. Quality and evidence for or against each therapy will be evaluated according to the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network statement and practical reminders for clinicians will accordingly be provided.

Keywords: Acute lung injury; acute respiratory distress syndrome; children; neonatal critical care; pediatric; pharmacological therapy; physiopathological background; pulmonary inflammation; respiratory failure; the lung tissue

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Terapia Intensiva Pediatrica- DEA, Policlinico Universitario “A.Gemelli”, Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, L.go A.Gemelli 8, 00168 Roma, Italia.

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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