last updated 26-05-2024



The gastrointestinal absorption of children is in general not very different from adults, although there are some important exceptions. The differences in absorption are mostly due to the kind of drug and in a lesser extent to physiological characteristics of the child (see table below). The preferable route of administration of drugs in children is oral. The absorbing surface of the GI-tract is already large enough at birth.



Some exceptions include:

  • due to the alkalic pH in the stomach of neonates, penicillin is highly absorbed.
  • with life threatening indications, neonates should not receive oral administration (slow gastric emptying time!)
  • in young children the resorption of lipophilic compounds can be accelerated due to an increased intestinal motility.

Compared to an adult, the GI tract of a neonate: