Author(s): Arnon SS, Schechter R, Maslanka SE, Jewell NP, Hatheway CL
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Abstract BACKGROUND: We created the orphan drug Human Botulism Immune Globulin Intravenous (Human) (BIG-IV), which neutralizes botulinum toxin, and evaluated its safety and efficacy in treating infant botulism, the intestinal-toxemia form of human botulism. METHODS: We performed a five-year, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial statewide, in California, of BIG-IV in 122 infants with suspected (and subsequently laboratory-confirmed) infant botulism (75 caused by type A Clostridium botulinum toxin, and 47 by type B toxin); treatment was given within three days after hospital admission. We subsequently performed a 6-year nationwide, open-label study of 382 laboratory-confirmed cases of infant botulism treated within 18 days after hospital admission. RESULTS: As compared with the control group in the randomized trial, infants treated with BIG-IV had a reduction in the mean length of the hospital stay, the primary efficacy outcome measure, from 5.7 weeks to 2.6 weeks (P<0.001). BIG-IV treatment also reduced the mean duration of intensive care by 3.2 weeks (P<0.001), the mean duration of mechanical ventilation by 2.6 weeks (P=0.01), the mean duration of tube or intravenous feeding by 6.4 weeks (P<0.001), and the mean hospital charges per patient by 88,600 dollars (in 2004 U.S. dollars; P<0.001). There were no serious adverse events attributable to BIG-IV. In the open-label study, infants treated with BIG-IV within seven days of admission had a mean length of hospital stay of 2.2 weeks, and early treatment with BIG-IV shortened the mean length of stay significantly more than did later treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Prompt treatment of infant botulism type A or type B with BIG-IV was safe and effective in shortening the length and cost of the hospital stay and the severity of illness. Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.
This article was published in N Engl J Med
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense