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Synagis (palivizumab)

What is Synagis®?

Synagis® (palivizumab) is an antibody that helps decrease the risk of serious lung infections caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). See education sheet, "Respiratory Syncytial Virus." Full-term babies get virus-fighting substances called antibodies from their mothers during pregnancy. These antibodies help to fight RSV and other viruses. Babies born prematurely often do not get enough of these antibodies before birth.

This medicine is given only to children under 2 years old at high risk for serious complications if they should get RSV. It is
not a treatment for children who already have RSV. Synagis may be given with routine immunizations.

What are the side effects?

  • There are few possible side effects including a mild fever, a rash, or skin reaction around the site of the injection.
  • Possible, serious side effects include severe allergic reaction, which may occur after any dose of Synagis.
  • Call your clinic if you see signs of allergic reaction:
    - rash or hives
    - wheezing
    - trouble breathing - call 911

How is it given?

  • Synagis is given by injection (shot) into the leg muscle once a month for up to 5 months starting in November through March.
  • It is usually given at the doctor's office or at home by a nurse.
  • Synagis doesn't work like a vaccine. It helps protect your baby for about 28-30 days, so missing or delaying just one shot could put your baby at risk for RSV.
  • Make sure you talk to your baby's doctor about how many shots will be needed and when they will start.
  • If you miss a shot, contact your child's doctor or home care nurse as soon as possible to reschedule.

Who makes the arrangements?

The doctor will send a referral to a specialty pharmacy (or home care company). The pharmacy or home care will obtain the insurance approval, and then the medicine will be sent to either your home or the doctor's office. If the doctor wants Synagis given at home, a home care nurse will call you to make an appointment to come to your house.

What else do I need to know?

  • Be sure your child receives every injection on time. Missing or delaying just one shot could put your baby at risk for RSV.
  • Cradle with CareSM  is a program that can help you through the Synagis dosing process. It provides text appointment reminders and health tips based on your baby's diagnosis: care.html


This sheet is not specific to your child, but provides general information. If you have any questions, call the clinic.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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