Improving the prescribing of palivizumab

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2018, 54 (12), pp. 1353 - 1356
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© 2018 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians) Aim: Palivizumab prevents respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children at high risk of severe disease. This paper reviews the use and effectiveness of palivizumab at two tertiary paediatric hospitals (hospitals A and B) in New South Wales, Australia. Methods: Children prescribed palivizumab during the pre-intervention period, 1 January 2013 until 31 December 2014, were compared with children under 2 years of age who were admitted to paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) with an RSV infection. Eligibility for palivizumab was determined. To improve evidence-based utilisation of palivizumab, a ‘streamlined palivizumab individual patient use’ (IPU) pro forma was introduced at hospital A during 2015, and its applicability was reviewed. Results: In the 2 years prior to implementing the streamlined IPU, 47 children received palivizumab, with 87% at hospital A. Of the children at hospital A, 32% did not meet the guidelines, and 32% did not complete the course. While 13% of children admitted to PICU for RSV infection were eligible for palivizumab, none received it prior to admission. In 2015, 16 streamlined IPUs were submitted, and 11 patients received palivizumab. Of these patients, 27% did not meet the guidelines, and 63% did not complete the course. Of the children who received palivizumab during the three RSV seasons, one developed an RSV infection, and none were admitted to PICU. Conclusions: Palivizumab is often prescribed without meeting recognised best practice guidelines, and patients eligible are frequently not prescribed palivizumab. The streamlined IPU, implemented in hospital A, excluded patients who did not meet guidelines. The pro forma needs further refinement, and complementary strategies introduced to improve compliance.
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