Background: It is estimated that up to 24% of the population in Germany suffers from allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and 5% from allergic asthma. Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis is closely related to other atopic diseases.
Methods: This review is based on pertinent publications retrieved by a selective search of the Medline database, guidelines from Germany and abroad, and Cochrane metaanalyses.
Results: Specific immunotherapy (SIT) is the only diseases-modifying treatment option for allergies. Metaanalysis reveals standardized mean differences in allergic rhinitis symptom scores of -0.73 for subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) and -0.49 for sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT); the corresponding mean differences in medication scores are -0.57 and -0.32, respectively. The treatment should be carried out for at least three years. It is indicated when the symptoms are severe and allergen avoidance is not a realistic option. The efficacy of treatment depends on the allergen dose; thus, every allergen preparation should be evaluated individually, independent of route of administration. SCIT can cause systemic adverse effects, including anaphylaxis. SLIT is safer but often causes allergic symptoms of the oral mucosa at the beginning of treatment.
Conclusion: Even though the efficacy of SIT is well documented, it is still underused. SIT should be offered as standard treatment to patients suffering from allergic rhinitis.
|Translated title of the contribution||Specific immunotherapy-indications and mode of action|
|Journal||Deutsches Arzteblatt International|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 01.03.2013|