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Immunotherapy: When to initiate treatment in children

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Although immunotherapy has documented short- and long-term benefits with regard to treatment of allergies and asthma as well as reducing development of new allergies and preventing progression of allergic rhinitis to asthma, the age to begin subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy appears established at the age of 5 years by published guidelines for treatment. The rationale for this age limit was examined and found to not reflect actual immunotherapy practice. Reasons for considering a downward revision are explored in this article. The conclusions from this review of past data and some recent studies with young children, especially with asthma, suggest that there is a need to consider beginning allergen immunotherapy earlier than the age of 5 years in more children.

Keywords: Age to begin immunotherapy; SCIT; SLIT; allergic reactions; allergy in children; asthma; guidelines; immunotherapy; mechanisms; prevention

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: St. Luke's–Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, New York

Publication date: 2007-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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