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Sao Paulo Med J. 2010 Jan;128(1):30-7.

Specific immunotherapy using Hymenoptera venom: systematic review.

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  • 1Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. ale.watanabe@ig.com.br

Abstract

CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE:

The only effective treatment for patients who have severe reactions after Hymenoptera stings is venom immunotherapy. The aim of this study was to review the literature to assess the effects of venom immunotherapy among patients presenting severe reactions after Hymenoptera stings.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Randomized controlled trials in the worldwide literature were reviewed. The manuscript was produced in the Discipline of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Universidade de São Paulo (USP).

METHODS:

Randomized controlled trials involving venom immunotherapy versus placebo or only patient follow-up were evaluated. The risk of systemic reactions after specific immunotherapy was evaluated by calculating odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS:

2,273 abstracts were identified by the keywords search. Only four studies were included in this review. The chi-square test for heterogeneity showed that two studies were homogeneous and could be included in a meta-analysis. By combining the two studies, the odds ratio became significant: 0.29 (0.10-0.87). However, analysis on the severity of the reactions after immunotherapy showed that the benefits may not be so significant because the reactions were mostly similar to or milder than the original reaction.

CONCLUSIONS:

Specific immunotherapy should be recommended for adults and children with moderate to severe reactions, but there is no need to prescribe it for children with skin reactions alone, especially if the exposure is very sporadic. On the other hand, the risk-benefit relation should always be assessed in each case.

PMID:
20512278
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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