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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Prophylaxis

Palivizumab (Synagis) is the only product on the American market for use in infants at high risk for adverse outcomes of a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.

Palivizumab is a humanized mouse monoclonal antibody and has the benefit of being administrated intramuscularly rather than intravenously.

Palivizumab is given in five (maximum) monthly IM injections during RSV season (usually November through March or April depending on the region) and is generally well tolerated.

Palivizumab has shown to be safe and effective in reducing RSV hospitalizations in high-risk infants by 39% to 82%.

Palivizumab is an expensive drug; therefore, it is only recommended for high-risk infants.


RSV prophylaxis should be considered for the following infants:

  • Infants born before 29 weeks during RSV season. They should be given prophylaxis until 12 months of age.
  • Children born prematurely at or before 32 weeks who are younger than 2 years old with chronic lung disease (CLD) and who required treatment for their CLD within 6 months of the onset of RSV season (including oxygen therapy).
  • Infants up to 12 months old with hemodynamically significant cyanotic or complicated congenital heart disease.
  • Infants up to 12 months old with neuromuscular disorder or congential anomalities that compromise clearing of respiratory secretions.


Once opened, a vial of palivizumab must be used within 6 hours (there is no preservative). It can be given concurrently with vaccines.

Always consult the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or the CDC for the most current and specific recommendations of the adminstration of palivizumab, including the length of treatment.

Tags of Post: Respiratory syncytial virus, RSV, prophylaxis, Palivizumab

Author: Health Awareness

Published on Jan. 7, 2019


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