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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Nov;116(5):1073-9. Epub 2005 Oct 3.

Sublingual immunotherapy for hazelnut food allergy: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with a standardized hazelnut extract.

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  • 1Allergy Department, Hospital General de Castellón, Castellón, Spain. eenriquemiranda@hotmail.com



Food allergy may be life-threatening, and patients affected need to receive accurate diagnoses and treatment. Hazelnut has often been implicated as responsible for allergic reactions, and trace quantities can induce systemic reactions.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of sublingual immunotherapy with a standardized hazelnut extract in patients allergic to hazelnut.


This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Inclusion criteria were a history of hazelnut allergy and positive skin prick test and double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge results. Patients were then randomly assigned into 2 treatment groups (hazelnut immunotherapy or placebo). Efficacy was assessed by double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge after 8 to 12 weeks of treatment. Blood samples were drawn for measurement of specific IgE, IgG(4), and serum cytokines before and after treatment.


Twenty-three patients were enrolled and divided into 2 treatment groups. Twenty-two patients reached the planned maximum dose at 4 days. Systemic reactions were observed in only 0.2% of the total doses administered. Mean hazelnut quantity provoking objective symptoms increased from 2.29 g to 11.56 g (P = .02; active group) versus 3.49 g to 4.14 g (placebo; NS). Moreover, almost 50% of patients who underwent active treatment reached the highest dose (20 g), but only 9% in the placebo. Laboratory data showed an increase in IgG(4) and IL-10 levels after immunotherapy in only the active group.


Our data confirm significant increases in tolerance to hazelnut after sublingual immunotherapy as assessed by double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge, and good tolerance to this treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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