Background Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a frequent cause of respiratory viral infections, increasing the morbidity and mortality in allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients. Little is known about the best management strategy in this immunocompromised group and there are very few data on oral ribavirin treatment. Aim To evaluate the effectiveness of oral ribavirin in allogeneic HSCT patients with RSV infection. Methods Twenty-three RSV cases treated with oral ribavirin were analysed retrospectively. RSV diagnosis was established by polymerase chain reaction assay. Oral ribavirin was initiated at 15 mg/kg/day in three divided doses for 10 days, with no subsequent dose escalation, as per centre policy. Findings At diagnosis, seven patients presented with lower respiratory tract infection (RTI), whereas 16 had upper RTI. Oral ribavirin was well tolerated with minor adverse effects. The median treatment duration was 10 days (range: 5–47). After a median follow-up of 17 months (range: 4–48), 17 patients are alive. We recorded one RSV-related and five non-related deaths. Conclusion To our knowledge, this is the largest single centre study yet performed on adult allogeneic HSCT recipients with RSV infection treated with oral ribavirin. Prompt initiation of treatment is essential and may avoid hospital admission. Our experience supports the use of oral ribavirin, but large prospective studies are needed to determine the optimal therapy in this patient group.
- Allogeneic stem cell transplant
- Respiratory infection
- Respiratory syncytial virus