To study whether premedication with an oral antifebrile agent (acetaminophen) and antihistamine (cetirizine) could decrease the frequency of acute infusion reactions in pediatric patients.


All pediatric patients scheduled for infliximab infusions at the Helsinki University Central Hospital, a tertiary care center, were prospectively introduced to a standard oral premedication of acetaminophen (20 mg/kg) and cetirizine (10 mg) prior to infliximab infusions for a period of 1 year. All acute adverse events related to infliximab infusions given according to the guidelines of pediatric rheumatologists or gastroenterologists were registered for this time period and retrospectively during the preceding year.


During the study period, infliximab infusions with premedication were given to 64 pediatric patients (48 with rheumatic disease and l6 with inflammatory bowel disease, mean age 13 years, n = 34 boys, and n = 30 girls). Infliximab was introduced to 14 children; the rest were on maintenance therapy. Twelve infusion reactions, 4 mild and 8 severe, were observed in 8 (12.5%) of the 64 subjects, and in 1 subject 4 times. During the preceding year, 60 pediatric patients had received infliximab infusions without premedication. In this latter group, infusion reactions occurred in 5 children (8.3%; P > 0.05). The presentation of an acute infusion reaction was not related to the sex or diagnosis of the patient.


In pediatric patients, acute infusion reactions related to infliximab could not be prevented with premedication with oral acetaminophen and cetirizine.