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How important is proper dosing for subcutaneous and sublingual allergy immunotherapy?

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Results of surveys report that allergists use a wide range of doses for allergy immunotherapy; however, results of randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled studies suggest that the range of the optimum effective dosing is relatively narrow.


To review studies that established effective or less than fully effective doses for allergy immunotherapy.


Studies were reviewed that established effective and ineffective subcutaneous and sublingual immunotherapy doses. Only those studies that expressed dosing in terms of the content of a major allergen in the maintenance doses were included in defining effective and ineffective doses.


Studies were identified that showed effective doses for subcutaneous injection, established in randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials, for short ragweed, timothy grass, house-dust mites, cat and dog dander, birch, and Alternaria. For short ragweed, timothy grass, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, and cat and dog dander, less-effective doses were determined, along with effective doses; the less-effective doses were only one-fifth to one-tenth less in allergen content than were the effective doses. Effective doses of cockroach and all fungal extracts except Alternaria have not been established. Information is available on the mean major allergen content of U.S. standardized and a few nonstandardized extracts, which allows the information on effective and ineffective dosing to be used in prescribing subcutaneous allergy immunotherapy. With sublingual allergy immunotherapy, all the approved tablets had multidose studies that determined the optimal dose. For the U.S. liquid extracts, to my knowledge, there are no studies to define effective doses except for ragweed.


Although a wide range of doses are prescribed by U.S. allergists, analysis of available data suggests that effective doses fall within a narrow range and that use of doses one-fifth or one-tenth of the effective doses may sacrifice most or all of the potential efficacy of the treatment.
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Keywords: Allergy immunotherapy; SCIT; SLIT; allergen dosing; allergen immunotherapy; efficacy; subcutaneous immunotherapy; sublingual immunotherapy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2021

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  • 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.

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    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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