Characteristics of patients receiving allergy vaccination: To which extent do socio-economic factors play a role?

Institute of Public Health-Health Economics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense C, Denmark.
The European Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.59). 06/2011; 21(3):323-8. DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckq063
Source: PubMed


Little is known about characteristics of patients receiving allergen-specific immunotherapy. Identifying obstacles to appropriate treatment according to guidelines may facilitate the development of strategies aiming at improved treatment of patients with allergic respiratory diseases. The objective of this study was to investigate differences in disease severity, demographic and socioeconomic status between allergic rhinitis patients receiving allergen-specific immunotherapy and allergic rhinitis patients not receiving allergen-specific immunotherapy.
A total of 366 patients were studied of whom 210 were going to receive subcutaneously administrated immunotherapy (SIT) against grass pollen and/or house dust mite allergy. The severity of rhino-conjunctivitis (hay fever) and/or asthma was classified according to international guidelines. The questionnaires included an EQ-5D visual analogue scale instrument and some socio-economic questions.
Severity of disease, young age, high level of education as well as greater perceived impairment of health-related quality of life due to allergic symptoms were significantly associated with use of SIT. Somewhat unexpectedly, household income was not associated with use of SIT.
Use of SIT was associated with both disease severity measures and educational level, but not income level. These results suggest social inequality as reflected by lower use of SIT among patients with lower educational level may represent an obstacle to treatment with SIT.

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