What Is Palivizumab Used For?

Palivizumab is prescribed to prevent severe complications that may occur in certain children exposed to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This drug cannot prevent a child from getting RSV, but it can help prevent the infection from becoming severe. Children age 24 months and younger can use palivizumab; it is not approved for use in adults.

An Overview of Uses for Palivizumab

Palivizumab (Synagis®) is a prescription medication approved to prevent serious lower respiratory tract disease caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants and young children who are at high risk for infection. The drug is given as a monthly injection during the RSV season, which usually runs from November to April.
 
RSV is a virus that commonly infects the lower respiratory tract, especially in young children. In fact, most children have been infected with the virus by the time they turn two years old. The virus may cause minor illness, such as cold-like symptoms, in otherwise healthy people. However, in certain high-risk infants and children, RSV can cause serious and even life-threatening problems, such as bronchiolitis (inflammation in the lungs) and pneumonia.
 
Palivizumab is a monthly injection recommended for high-risk infants and young children to help prevent an RSV infection from turning into a more serious illness. It has been shown to reduce hospitalization from an RSV infection. High-risk infants and children include those who:
 
  • Were born prematurely (defined as at or before 35 weeks gestation)
  • Have chronic lung disease
  • Have certain types of congenital heart disease.
 
In addition, there are certain steps you and your family can take to help reduce the spread of RSV. These steps include the following:
 
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before interacting with a high-risk infant
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze
  • If you are sick, do not share items that could spread the virus, such as cups and eating utensils
  • Keep potentially contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs, as clean as possible.
 
5 Tips to Keep a Cold at Bay

Palivizumab Drug Information

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