Snakebite envenomations occur in 45 000 patients in the USA annually and are associated with morbidity especially in children and the elderly. Crotalidae polyvalent immune fab (ovine; FabAV) is a polyvalent antivenom derived from sheep for crotalid envenomations. Limited clinical trials are available in paediatric patients. A literature search using MEDLINE (1950–February 2008), International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970–February 2008), EMBASE (1988–February 2008) and Cochrane Library (1996–June 2008) was conducted using key words including: antivenom OR snakebites OR children OR Crotalid OR envenomations. All English-language articles were identified from data sources. Pertinent studies pertaining to FabAV in children and adolescents with crotalid envenomations were included for analysis. Ten papers were included for review, representing 47 children. Initial doses ranging from 2 to 18 g were administered and initial control was achieved in most children. Maintenance dosing was continued in 63.8% (30/47) of patients; 4.3% (2/47) of patients had episodes of venom recurrence. Adverse events were noted in 8.5% of children (4/47) when pooled for data analysis. FabAV appears to be a safe and effective agent for children with crotalid envenomations. Clinicians should adapt dosing recommendations used for adults until future large, well-designed trials can confirm the efficacy and safety from observation studies and case reports.
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Competing interests: None.