The current role of sublingual immunotherapy in the treatment of allergic rhinitis in adults and children
Cristoforo Incorvaia1, Simonetta Masieri2, Silvia Scurati3, Silvia Soffia3, Paola Puccinelli3, Franco Frati3
1Allergy/Pulmonary rehabilitation, Istituti Clinici di Perfezionamento, Milan, Italy; 2ENT Clinic, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy; 3Medical and Scientific Department, Stallergenes, Milan, Italy
Abstract: Allergic rhinitis is a very common disease affecting about 20% of people. It may be treated by allergen avoidance when possible, by antiallergic drugs such as antihistamines and topical corticosteroids, and by allergen-specific immunotherapy. The latter is the only treatment able to act on the causes and not only on the symptoms of respiratory allergy and is able to maintain its efficacy even after stopping, provided an adequate duration of treatment of 3–5 years is ensured. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) was introduced in the 1990s as a possible solution to the problem of adverse systemic reactions to subcutaneous immunotherapy and has been demonstrated by more than 50 trials and globally evaluated thus far by five meta-analyses as an effective and safe treatment for allergic rhinitis. Life-threatening reactions are extremely rare. However, it is important to note that clinical efficacy occurs only if SLIT meets its needs, ie, sufficiently high doses are regularly administered for at least 3 consecutive years. This is often overlooked in the current practice and may prevent the same success reported by trials from being achieved.
Keywords: allergic rhinitis, sublingual immunotherapy, efficacy, safety, compliance, meta-analysis
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