Respiratory syncytial virus infection and palivizumab: are families receiving accurate information

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Antibodies, Monoclonal; Antiviral Agents; *Attitude of Health Personnel; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Female; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Humans; Infant, Newborn; Length of Stay; Male; Middle Aged; Patient Education as Topic; *Professional-Family Relations; Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections; United States; Young Adult




The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of information provided by medical practitioners to families regarding the efficacy and limitations of prophylaxis with palivizumab for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in infants. A single-question survey was distributed to medical practitioners who described themselves as having both prescribed palivizumab for infants and discussed the effects of the drug with families. Responses were anonymous and returned immediately after reviewing the survey question. Respondents were requested to choose the answer that most closely resembled their understanding of palivizumab effects on the degree of illness and severity of RSV infection. All surveys distributed were completed and answers assessed by medical specialty. A total of 456 surveys were returned. Neonatologists and pediatricians accounted for the majority of responses. The answer that most closely reflects the medical literature, that palivizumab will decrease hospitalization but have no effect on need for mechanical intubation or mortality, was chosen only 2% of the time. Families are not receiving accurate information regarding the expected potential benefits and limitations of immunoprophylaxis with palivizumab. This is a very expensive drug with unclear cost-effectiveness. If changes are to be made to current recommendations as to use of palivizumab, families must receive informed consent that accurately reflects the literature.

DOI of Published Version



Am J Perinatol. 2010 Mar;27(3):219-23. Epub 2009 Sep 26. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of perinatology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID