Author(s): Mellerup MT, Hahn GW, Poulsen LK, Malling H
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Allergen-specific immunotherapy is a well-documented treatment for allergic rhinitis, asthma, and allergy to Hymenoptera venoms. The drawbacks of injection immunotherapy are related to the risk of inducing systemic side-effects (especially during the induction phase), the time used to reach the maintenance dose, and the percentage of patients completing the induction phase). OBJECTIVE: To investigate the practicability and safety of three different patient-friendly induction regimens of clustered immunotherapy (several injections administered during each visit). METHODS: Since 1990, three different clustered induction regimens (regimen 1 = exclusively aqueous extracts; regimen 2 = a combination of aqueous and alum depot extracts; and regimen 3 = induction using exclusively alum depot extracts) have been investigated in 657 patients (10 369 injections). RESULTS: A total of 454 systemic (immediate and late) reactions were observed in 257 patients corresponding to 4.4\% of the injections and 39.1\% of the patients. Most of the systemic reactions were of little or no clinical importance (93\% grade 1 and grade 2) and < 1\% anaphylactic reactions. The 8-week induction regimen using exclusively alum depot extracts showed a statistical significant lower frequency and severity of systemic side-effects. Immunotherapy with cat and mite allergen extracts showed the highest frequency of severe side-effects, which may be related to these extracts being used predominantly in asthmatic patients. The lowest frequency of systemic side-effects was observed in patients allergic to Hymenoptera venoms and these patients furthermore showed the highest number of patients (97\%) completing the induction phase. CONCLUSION: An 8-week clustered induction regimen using alum depot extract seems an acceptable compromise in relation to a reduction in the time used to reach maintenance dose and the risk of inducing clinically relevant systemic side-effects, and consequently imply a reduction in the costs of the treatment.
This article was published in Clin Exp Allergy
and referenced in Journal of Allergy & Therapy