Administration of the first dose of palivizumab immunoprophylaxis against respiratory syncytial virus in infants before hospital discharge: What is the evidence for its benefit?

Joseph M. Geskey, Gary Ceneviva, Gretchen L. Brummel, Gavin Graff, Maria Cristina Javier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Palivizumab is 1 of 2 agents used to prevent severe lower respiratory tract disease due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend administering the first dose of RSV immunoprophylaxis to eligible infants before hospital discharge. Unfortunately, third-party payers frequently do not separately reimburse administration of this therapy to hospitalized infants. Objective: Because palivizumab is commonly used to provide RSV immunoprophylaxis, we systematically reviewed all published data on this drug to determine whether the evidence supports the recommendation of administering the first dose before hospital discharge. Methods: MEDLINE was searched for all articles published in English from January 1, 1996, to October 31, 2003, using the search terms palivizumab and Synagis, and the following data were extracted onto a standardized form: author(s), year of publication, study design, patient population, sample size, criteria used for administration of RSV prophylaxis, location of palivizumab prophylaxis (inpatient or outpatient), parental satisfaction with administration of prophylaxis, incidence of RSV infection, and hospitalization rates for RSV. All selected publications were reviewed to determine whether they reported differences in the incidence of RSV infection or hospitalization in patients who received palivizumab before discharge compared with those who received it after discharge. Only those publications that specifically documented administration of the first dose of palivizumab before hospital discharge were included in the final analysis. Results: Six of the 166 studies reviewed met the selection criteria. Although all 6 studies reported reduced RSV hospitalization rates with palivizumab prophylaxis, no study directly compared inpatient and outpatient administration with regard to parental satisfaction or rates of RSV infection or hospitalization. Furthermore, based on the data in these studies, it was not possible to detect any differences in parental satisfaction or rates of RSV infection or hospitalization between the 2 locations of administration. Conclusions: Based on our literature review, there is no evidence to support the recommendation that palivizumab be administered before hospital discharge in every infant who meets the criteria for RSV immunoprophylaxis. Eligible infants may be given the initial dose of RSV prophylaxis as outpatients, reducing the cost to institutions that currently provide palivizumab before hospital discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2130-2137
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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