Palivizumab (Synagis) is a shot that helps prevent serious lung infections caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV is very contagious. It is spread by contact with infected fluids from the nose or mouth and through droplets in the air from coughing. Most children have gotten RSV by the time they are 2 years old.
RSV infections generally occur in the US from November to April.
Usually, RSV causes mild symptoms, such as a runny nose and fever. But babies born early and babies with lung or heart problems have a higher risk of getting very sick if they get infected with RSV.
Palivizumab is given to children less than 1 year old at high risk for serious complications from RSV. These children include:
In some cases, palivizumab may be given to children up to 2 years old if they have immune system problems or continue to require medical treatment for lung problems.
This medicine is not a treatment for children who already have an RSV infection.
The shot may be given with other routine immunizations. A child may need a shot every month during RSV season to be fully protected.
Palivizumab contains virus-fighting antibodies. Full-term babies get antibodies from their mothers during pregnancy. These antibodies help babies fight RSV and other infections. Babies born prematurely often do not get enough of these antibodies before birth, and their lungs are not well developed. It's harder for these babies and other young children at high risk to fight infections and keep infections from getting serious. Palivizumab helps these children fight RSV infection.
Ask your healthcare provider about Palivizumab. This medicine is very expensive. Insurance companies will pay for treatment only if a baby meets specific criteria. Your healthcare provider will have the most recent recommendations.