Palivizumab Prophylaxis in Preterm Infants and Subsequent Recurrent Wheezing. Six-Year Follow-up Study

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Abstract

Rationale:

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) induces not only infantile recurrent wheezing but also potentially atopic asthma.

Objectives:

To test the effect of RSV infection on development of subsequent atopic asthma, we evaluated whether palivizumab, an anti-RSV monoclonal antibody, by preventing severe RSV disease in the first year of life, could impact subsequent recurrent wheezing and atopic asthma at 6 years of age.

Methods:

During the 2007 to 2008 RSV season, the decision to administer palivizumab was made based on standard medical practice and an observational prospective multicenter (n = 52) case-control study in preterm infants with a gestational age between 33 and 35 weeks followed from 0 to 3 years (preceding Committee on Recurrent Wheezing study). The 52 investigators at hospitals then followed these subjects until 6 years of age, reported here (Effects of Preventive Treatment for Respiratory Syncytial [RS] Virus Infection During Infancy on Later Atopic Asthma in Preterm Infants; Scientific Committee for Elucidation of Infantile Asthma). Parents of study subjects reported the infants’ physicians’ assessment of recurrent wheezing, using a report card and a novel mobile phone-based reporting system using the Internet. The primary endpoint was the incidence of atopic asthma.

Measurements and Main Results:

Of 444 preterm infants enrolled, 349 received palivizumab during the first year of life. At 6 years, atopic asthma was not different in the groups: 15.3 and 18.2% of infants in the treated and untreated groups, respectively (P = 0.57). On the other hand, physician-diagnosed recurrent wheezing was observed in 15.3 and 31.6% in the treated and untreated groups, respectively (P = 0.003).

Conclusions:

Palivizumab prophylaxis administered to preterm infants did not suppress the onset of atopic asthma but resulted in a significantly lower incidence of recurrent wheezing during the first 6 years.

Conclusions:

Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 01545245).

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