Specific immunotherapy in children: the evidence.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Catania, Italy.
International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.51). 10/2011; 24(4 Suppl):69-78.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Specific immunotherapy (SIT) is the only treatment able to not only act on the symptoms of allergy but also act on the causes. At present, SIT may be administered in two forms: subcutaneous (SCIT) and sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). SCIT represents the standard modality of treatment while SLIT has recently been introduced into clinical practice and today represents an accepted alternative to SCIT. The main advantages of SIT that are lacking with drug treatment are long-lasting clinical effects and alteration of the natural course of the disease. This prevents the new onset of asthma in patients with allergic rhinitis and the onset of new sensitizations. The mechanism of action of both routes is similar; they modify peripheral and mucosal Th2-responses into a prevalent Th1-polarization with subsequent reduction of the allergic inflammatory reaction. Both have long-term effects for years after they have been discontinued, although for SLIT these evidences are insufficient. To date several guidelines have defined indications, controindications, side-effects, and clinical aspect for SCIT and SLIT. New forms of immunotherapy, allergen products and approaches to food allergy and atopic eczema represents the future of SIT.

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