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Lancet. 1998 Feb 28;351(9103):629-32.

Randomised controlled trial of local allergoid immunotherapy on allergic inflammation in mite-induced rhinoconjunctivitis.

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  • 1Allergy and Clinical Immunology Service, DIMI, Department of Internal Medicine, Genoa University, Italy.



Non-injective routes of immunotherapy are thought to be valuable therapeutic options for respiratory allergy. We investigated the clinical efficacy and the effects of sublingual/oral immunotherapy on conjunctival allergic inflammation in patients with mite-induced respiratory allergy.


We used a double-blind placebo-controlled design. 20 patients with mite-induced rhinoconjunctivitis (six of whom also had mild asthma) were randomly assigned sublingual/oral immunotherapy (n=10) or placebo (n=10) for 2 years. We assessed symptom score by diary cards and inflammatory-cell infiltrate, and expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) in the conjunctiva after specific allergen challenge at enrollment and after 12 and 24 months of treatment.


We found significantly lower symptom scores in the immunotherapy group than in the placebo group in most of the winter months (p=0.05). Compared with the placebo group, inflammatory-cell infiltration after conjunctival challenge, and ICAM-1 expression on conjunctival epithelium decreased significantly in the first year of treatment in the immunotherapy group (p=0.04 and p=0.02, respectively). These effects were also seen for the minimum persistent inflammation, in symptom-free patients exposed constantly to allergens (p=0.02). Serum concentrations of eosinophil cationic protein decreased significantly (p=0.04). Immunotherapy was well tolerated and compliance was good.


Our results suggest that this immunotherapy is clinically effective in rhinoconjunctivitis and that it decreases the immune-mediated inflammatory responses to the allergen.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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