The current role of sublingual immunotherapy in the treatment of allergic rhinitis in adults and children

Allergy/Pulmonary rehabilitation, Istituti Clinici di Perfezionamento, Milan, Italy
Journal of Asthma and Allergy 02/2011; 4:13-7. DOI: 10.2147/JAA.S16632
Source: PubMed

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.

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    ABSTRACT: A large number of trials show that the anti-immunoglobulin (Ig) E antibody omalizumab is very effective in patients with severe allergic asthma. This is acknowledged in consensus documents. The drug also has a good safety profile and a pharmacoeconomic advantage due to a reduction in the number of hospitalizations for asthma attacks. In recent years, some studies have shown that omalizumab is effective also in nonallergic asthma. Effects on the complex signaling mechanisms leading to activation of effector cells and to mediator release may account for this outcome. Indeed, omalizumab has been reported to be effective in a number of IgE-mediated and non-IgE-mediated disorders. Concerning the former, clinical efficacy has been observed in rhinitis, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, latex allergy, atopic dermatitis, allergic urticaria, and anaphylaxis. In addition, omalizumab has been demonstrated to be able to prevent systemic reactions to allergen immunotherapy, thus enabling completion of treatment in patients who otherwise would have to stop it. Concerning non-IgE-mediated disorders, omalizumab has been reported to be effective in nasal polyposis, autoimmune urticaria, chronic idiopathic urticaria, physical urticaria, idiopathic angioedema, and mastocytosis. Current indications for treatment with omalizumab are confined to severe allergic asthma. Consequently, any other prescription can only be off-label. However, it is reasonable to expect that the use of omalizumab will be approved for particularly important indications, such as anaphylaxis, in the near future.
    Drug Design, Development and Therapy 01/2014; 8:197-207. DOI:10.2147/DDDT.S49409 · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background High-dose pollen sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is indicated in patients with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis (AR), especially those who are unable to control their disease with pharmacotherapy. We explore the use of high-dose SLIT in patients with severe AR and sensitized to pollen, in real-life clinical practice. We also analyzed the effect on asthma.Methods This was a prospective observational study conducted at the Allergy outpatient clinic at Hotel Dieu de France Hospital (HDF), Beirut, Lebanon. The cohort, composed of 118 patients between 7 and 55 years old, was regularly evaluated at inclusion, at 12 months, and at 36 months. Fifty-five percent of AR patients had associated controlled asthma. Patients received a standardized pollen extract (Staloral 300IR). The pollen combination was 1 to 3 pollens, the most commonly used were Parietaria judaica, Cupressaceae, 5 grasses, and Oleaceae. In a previous study, those were the main allergenic pollens correlated to AR in the same population. Global assessment of the effect of SLIT was measured using a rhinitis total symptom score (RTSS), a rhinitis medication consumption score (RMCS), a global asthma score (ASS), and an asthma medication consumption score (AMCS).ResultsUsing a t test we found that the average scores at inclusion, 12 months, and 36 months, respectively, were as follows: RTSS: 31.32, 16.39 (p < 0.041), and 13.35 (p < 0.041); RMCS: 6.96, 1.96 (p < 0.0162), and 1.61 (p < 0.0162); ASS: 4.62, 1.96 (p < 0.0005), and 1.33 (p < 0.0005); and AMCS: 2.35, 0.78 (p < 0.0005), and 0.7 (p < 0.0005).Conclusion Our study showed favorable results of SLIT to aeroallergens in patients with uncontrolled AR. The effect is also applicable to the subgroup of patients suffering from concomitant, controlled asthma.
    International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology 09/2014; 4(10). DOI:10.1002/alr.21375 · 1.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An important subpopulation in allergic rhinitis is represented by patients with severe form of disease that is not responsive to drug treatment. It has been reported that grass pollen subcutaneous immunotherapy is effective in drug-resistant patients. In a real-life study, we evaluated the efficacy of 5-grass pollen tablets in patients with grass pollen-induced allergic rhinitis not responsive to drug therapy. We carried out this multicenter observational study in adults and adolescents with grass-induced allergic rhinitis not responsive to drug therapy who were treated for a year with 5-grass pollen tablets. Clinical data collected before and after sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) included Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) classification of allergic rhinitis, response to therapy, and patient satisfaction. Forty-seven patients entered the study. By ARIA classification, three patients had moderate to severe intermittent allergic rhinitis, ten had mild persistent allergic rhinitis, and 34 had moderate to severe persistent allergic rhinitis. There were no cases of mild intermittent allergic rhinitis before SLIT. After SLIT, 33 patients had mild intermittent allergic rhinitis, none had moderate to severe intermittent allergic rhinitis, seven had mild persistent allergic rhinitis, and seven had moderate to severe persistent allergic rhinitis. The mean medication score decreased from 4.2±1.3 before to 2.4±2.0 after SLIT (P<0.01), representing a reduction of 42%. The response to treatment before SLIT was judged as poor by 70% of patients and very poor by 30%. Patient satisfaction was significantly increased after SLIT (P<0.01). In real life, most patients with grass pollen-induced allergic rhinitis not responsive to drug treatment can achieve control of the condition with one season of treatment using 5-grass pollen tablets.
    Journal of Asthma and Allergy 12/2013; 6:127-33. DOI:10.2147/JAA.S53801
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