Comparison of Intravenous Palivizumab and Standard of Care for Treatment of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection in Mechanically Ventilated Pediatric Patients

J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Mar-Apr;21(2):146-54. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-21.2.146.


Objectives: Evidence suggests palivizumab may be beneficial for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in pediatric patients, although it is only approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for RSV prophylaxis. The objective of this study is to compare outcomes among pediatric patients with RSV infection who received intravenous palivizumab and standard of care versus standard of care alone.

Methods: This is a retrospective, single-center cohort study conducted between November 2003 and October 2013. Pediatric patients with active RSV infection treated with intravenous (IV) palivizumab after initiation of mechanical ventilation were matched 1:1 to a control selected from ventilated patients who received standard of care. The primary end point evaluated the duration of mechanical ventilation between groups. Secondary end points included hospital length of stay, intensive care unit length of stay, duration of respiratory support over baseline, time to RSV microbiologic cure, duration of antibiotic therapy, and in-hospital mortality.

Results: A total of 22 patients with a median age of 3 months were included in the study. Patients in the treatment group received a median of 2 doses of IV palivizumab, with a mean dose of 14.2 mg/kg. All patients received bronchodilators and corticosteroids, with the exception of 1 patient in the control group, and only 1 treatment group patient received IV ribavirin. Duration of mechanical ventilation was longer in the treatment group (18.9 ± 9.5 vs. 14.3 ± 9.3 days; p = 0.26). No statistically significant differences were observed between groups for any of the secondary end points.

Conclusions: Pediatric patients who received IV palivizumab in addition to standard of care for treatment of RSV infection following initiation of mechanical ventilation experienced similar outcomes to those who received standard of care alone. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the potential benefit of IV palivizumab in addition to current standard of care.

Keywords: mechanical ventilation; palivizumab; respiratory syncytial virus; standard of care.