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Ragweed-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis: current and emerging treatment options

Authors Ihler F, Canis M

Received 7 October 2014

Accepted for publication 27 December 2014

Published 16 February 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 15—24


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Amrita Dosanjh

Friedrich Ihler, Martin Canis

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

Abstract: Ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) is an annually flowering plant whose pollen bears high allergenic potential. Ragweed-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis has long been seen as a major immunologic condition in Northern America with high exposure and sensitization rates in the general population. The invasive occurrence of ragweed (A. artemisiifolia) poses an increasing challenge to public health in Europe and Asia as well. Possible explanations for its worldwide spread are climate change and urbanization, as well as pollen transport over long distances by globalized traffic and winds. Due to the increasing disease burden worldwide, and to the lack of a current and comprehensive overview, this study aims to review the current and emerging treatment options for ragweed-induced rhinoconjunctivitis. Sound clinical evidence is present for the symptomatic treatment of ragweed-induced allergic rhinoconjunctivitis with oral third-generation H1-antihistamines and leukotriene antagonists. The topical application of glucocorticoids has also been efficient in randomized controlled clinical trials. Combined approaches employing multiple agents are common. The mainstay of causal treatment to date, especially in Northern America, is subcutaneous immunotherapy with the focus on the major allergen, Amb a 1. Beyond this, growing evidence from several geographical regions documents the benefit of sublingual immunotherapy. Future treatment options promise more specific symptomatic treatment and fewer side effects during causal therapy. Novel antihistamines for symptomatic treatment are aimed at the histamine H3-receptor. New adjuvants with toll-like receptor 4 activity or the application of the monoclonal anti-immunoglobulin E antibody, omalizumab, are supposed to enhance conventional immunotherapy. An approach targeting toll-like receptor 9 by synthetic cytosine phosphate–guanosine oligodeoxynucleotides promises a new treatment paradigm that aims to modulate the immune response, but it has yet to be proven in clinical trials.

Keywords: ambrosia, seasonal allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis

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