In vivo and in vitro allergy diagnostics: it's time to reappraise the costs

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Abstract

Background

The in vivo skin prick test (SPT) is widely considered less expensive than in vitro g-immunoglobulin E (IgE) determination in the diagnosis of allergy. The aim of the present paper is to evaluate the relevance of component-resolved in vitro diagnosis in comparison to extract-based diagnosis and the relative global costs in relation to clinical outcomes.

Methods

For 50 individuals with suspected seasonal allergic rhinitis, we compared the costs of skin testing with those of specific IgE antibody measurement.

Results

The costs were higher for in vitro than in vivo testing. However, the clinical information obtained using recombinant reagents allowed correct identification of the sensitizing molecule.

Conclusions

Recombinant allergens for specific IgE in vitro measurement provide more reliable information for immunotherapy prescription. This should be translated into a significant reduction in the overall costs sustained by the healthcare system.

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