Respiratory syncytial virus immunoprophylaxis in premature infants does not appear to prevent asthma at age 6 years, reported Nienke M. Scheltema, MD, of Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, Utrecht, the Netherlands, and associates.

In a study of 395 otherwise healthy premature infants who were randomized to receive palivizumab for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) immunoprophylaxis or placebo and followed for 6 years, 14% of the 199 infants in the RSV prevention group had parent-reported asthma, compared with 24% of the 196 in the placebo group (absolute risk reduction, 9.9%). This was explained mostly by differences in infrequent wheeze, the researchers said. However, physician-diagnosed asthma in the past 12 months was not significantly different between the two groups at 6 years: 10.3% in the RSV prevention group and 9.9% in the placebo group.

In terms of reporting wheeze in the past 12 months, 12% of the 199 children in the RSV prevention group did at the 6-year follow-up, compared with 20% of the 196 in the placebo group (ARR, 8%), while 9% of the RSV prevention group used asthma medication, compared with 13% of the placebo group (ARR, 4%). Lung function results were similar between the two groups.

SOURCE: Scheltema NM et al. Lancet. 2018 Feb 27. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(18)30055-9 .


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