THE HAZARDS of drugs prescribed to newborn infants on the basis of information obtained in adults has emphasized the need for pharmacologic studies during this critical stage of development. Since alterations in metabolism have usually been responsible for the increased (drug) toxicity noted in the neonatal period, we have undertaken a systematic assay of these processes during postnatal development. Efforts have been concentrated on conjugation mechanisms in which a chemical moiety is coupled to the drug substrate, resulting in an increased water solubility of the conjugate and enhanced excretion. Glutathione (GSH) coupling to sulfobromophthalein is an example of this type of reaction.
Many studies have demonstrated that sulfobromophthalein (Bromsulphalein, BSP) is inadequately removed from the blood of full-term1,2 and premature infants3,4 during the neonatal period. Bromsulphalein concentrations decrease to adult values in the human infant at 3 to 4 weeks of age and appear to be related to