Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Palivizumab for preterm infants. Is it worth it?
  1. N D Embleton1,
  2. C Harkensee1,
  3. M C Mckean2
  1. 1Newcastle Neonatal Service, Department of Child Health, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK
  2. 2Paediatric Respiratory Unit, Department of Child Health, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Embleton
    Newcastle Neonatal Service, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK;


Respiratory syncytial virus infection is an important cause of morbidity. Although palivizumab prophylaxis is widely used, it is uncertain whether the cost is justified. A systematic review was therefore performed of the safety, efficacy, and the likely cost effectiveness of prophylaxis for preterm infants in the United Kingdom using a standard search strategy. The only randomised controlled trial identified showed a reduction in hospital admission but no benefit on more serious outcomes. None of the United Kingdom cost studies showed economic benefit for palivizumab prophylaxis. New treatments are rarely cost effective, and, in the absence of a comprehensive economic assessment, continued use for high risk infants may appear justified.

  • BPD, bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • CLD, chronic lung disease
  • RSV, respiratory syncytial virus
  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • palivizumab
  • monoclonal antibody
  • cost effectiveness
  • preterm

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: none declared