Allergen immunotherapy: an update on protocols of administration

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Purpose of review

Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) is still the only causal treatment for allergic rhinitis and asthma. However, conventional subcutaneous AIT administration schedules are time-consuming and safety issues still play a role; for sublingual AIT, the best efficacy is still investigated and for food allergy the best efficacy–safety balance is not yet completely discovered. Investigators have made progress in these fields lately.

Recent findings

Since January 2014, several (ultra) rush or cluster build-up phases with hypoallergic variants of extracts have been explored with success. Also, the efficacy of only preseasonal subcutaneous AIT was demonstrated for tree and grass pollen. Sublingual AIT was shown to be effective and well tolerated in allergic rhinitis and asthma with tablets and with highly concentrated liquid formulations (ragweed, house dust mite), but not cockroach. For food allergy, oral immunotherapy is promising, but close attention should be paid to the exact administration schedule, maintenance dose, and the definition of efficacy (desensitization or real tolerance, as defined by a negative challenge test at least 4 months off treatment).


The practicing physician should be watchful for advances in the field of aeroallergen AIT and food oral immunotherapy, analyzing the presented information in detail and interpreting conclusions product specifically, without generalizing.

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