Author(s): Dahl R, Kapp A, Colombo G, de Monchy JG, Rak S
BACKGROUND: Allergen immunotherapy (desensitization) by injection is effective for seasonal allergic rhinitis and has been shown to induce long-term disease remission. The sublingual route also has potential, although definitive evidence from large randomized controlled trials has been lacking.
OBJECTIVE: The aim was to confirm the efficacy of a rapidly dissolving grass allergen tablet (GRAZAX, ALK-Abelló, Hørsholm, Denmark) compared with placebo in patients with seasonal rhinoconjunctivitis.
METHODS: A longitudinal, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study that included 51 centers from 8 countries. Subjects were randomized (1:1) to receive a grass allergen tablet or placebo once daily. A total of 634 subjects with a history of grass pollen-induced rhinoconjunctivitis for at least 2 years and confirmation of IgE sensitivity (positive skin prick test and serum-specific IgE) were included in the study. Subjects commenced treatment at least 16 weeks before the grass pollen season, and treatment was continued throughout the entire season.
RESULTS: The primary efficacy analysis showed a reduction of 30% in rhinoconjunctivitis symptom score (P < .0001) and a reduction of 38% in rhinoconjunctivitis medication score (P < .0001) compared with placebo. Side effects mainly comprised mild itching and swelling in the mouth that was in general well tolerated and led to treatment withdrawal in less than 4% of participants. There were no serious local side effects and no severe systemic adverse events.
CONCLUSION: Sublingual immunotherapy with grass allergen tablets was effective in grass pollen-induced rhinoconjunctivitis. The tablet was well tolerated with minor local side effects.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The grass allergen tablet represents a safe alternative to injection immunotherapy suitable for home use.Journal of Allergy & Therapy