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Allergen immunotherapy safety: Characterizing systemic reactions and identifying risk factors

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Systemic reactions (SRs) pose a risk to those treated with subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy (AIT). The goals of the study were to calculate a rate of SRs to AIT, characterize the timing and treatment of these SRs, and analyze a case–control sample of patients for putative SR risk factors. A case–control study based on a retrospective chart review from 2004 to 2006 at a single institution was performed for patients receiving AIT. A control group received AIT over the same time period but did not have an SR. Three hundred thirty-eight patients had 10,497 AIT injection visits and 25 patients experienced 29 SRs for a rate of 0.28% per injection visit and 7.4% per patient. Gender, phase (build-up versus maintenance), asthma, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers, initial skin-prick test size, or allergen type did not increase the odds of an SR to AIT. Nearly one-half (48%) of the SRs occurred >30 minutes after the injection. All five patients with an abnormal physical exam or a >20% decrease in peak expiratory flow during their SRs occurred in patients presenting with their SRs >30 minutes after the injection (p = 0.02). This study found a low rate of SRs to AIT. However, a high percentage of SRs occurred >30 minutes after the injection, and many of these SRs required epinephrine. This study was unable to identify specific risk factors that predict SRs to AIT.
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Keywords: ACE-inhibitor; allergens; anaphylaxis; asthma; beta-blocker; desensitization (immunologic); epinephrine; risk factors; safety; subcutaneous immunotherapy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Allergic Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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 and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    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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