Acute Poliomyelitis Medication

Updated: Jul 13, 2022
  • Author: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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Medication Summary

Prevention has been proven to be the key to treatment for poliomyelitis. Development of effective vaccines from cultures of human embryonic tissues and monkey kidney cells represent significant achievements. As a result of the introduction of inactivated poliovirus vaccine in the 1950s, followed by oral poliovirus vaccine in the 1960s, cases of poliomyelitis in the United States have become rare following vaccination. Inadequate use of the vaccine in areas with low standards for public health still may increase the risk of outbreaks of poliomyelitis because of lack of immunity. [16]



Class Summary

Provide active immunity against poliovirus

Salk vaccine (inactivated poliovirus vaccine [IPV])

Two IPV products are licensed in the United States, although only 1 of these (IPOL) is distributed there. IPV contains formalin-inactivated poliovirus strains of the 3 different serotypes (Mahoney, MEF-1, Saukett). Administered through injection, stimulates serum IgM, IgG, and IgA. Data have confirmed that 90-100% of children develop protective antibodies to all 3 types of poliovirus after administration of 2 doses of currently available IPV, and 99-100% develop protective antibodies after 3 doses. The current recommended polio vaccination schedule in children is 4 doses of the IPV with one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, between 6 to 18 months, and a booster between 4 to 6 years of age. Routine poliovirus vaccination of adults residing in the United States is not necessary.

High-risk adults (eg, travelers to epidemic areas, members of community with poliovirus disease, health care workers with close contact of patients who might excrete wild poliovirus, unvaccinated adults whose children will receive oral polio vaccine) should be vaccinated.

IPV is the only vaccine recommended for vaccination of immunodeficient persons and their household contacts.

Sabin vaccine (Orimune)

Consists of attenuated live poliovirus. Sabin vaccine is very effective in providing local gastrointestinal immunity and circulating antibodies.

Routine immunization using oral polio vaccine (OPV) in the United States has been discontinued to eliminate the risk for vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP) according to the 2000 ACIP new recommendations. However, an emergency stockpile of OPV for polio outbreak control is maintained.