Renal Elimination of Drugs at Various Ages

  • A. H. Neims


The renal excretion of drugs and/or their active or inactive metabolites can involve the processes of glomerular filtration, active or passive tubular secretion, and/or active or passive tubular reabsorption (Weiner, 1971). Hydrophilic compounds, like the polycationic aminoglycosides, experience little passive reabsorption; their urine/plasma concentration ratios approximate 100, and their clearance is similar to that of inulin or creatinine. Lipophilic compounds, like caffeine, are filtered, but reabsorbed so rapidly that their urine/plasma concentration ratios approach 1 (Aldridge, Aranda & Neims, 1979). Under these circumstances renal excretion is most inefficient with clearance only approximating urine flow rate. Several organic acids such as penicillin, and organic bases such as procainamide, are secreted actively by the tubule. This presentation concerns the relationship between the various processes of renal excretion and age. There is no doubt that the impairment of the renal excretion of drugs at the two extremes of age has therapeutic and toxicological implications (Morselli, 1976; Kampmann & Molholm Hansen, 1979; Schmucker, 1979). My purpose is not to present original research, but rather to explore the issue from the perspective of someone interested in development in general.


Birth Weight Renal Excretion Tubular Secretion Unit Surface Area Renal Plasma Flow 
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© The contributors 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. H. Neims
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, and Department of PediatricsUniversity of Florida College of MedicineGainesvilleUSA

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