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Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2001 Jul-Aug;29(4):103-10.

Sublingual immunotherapy in tree pollen allergy. Double-blind, placebo-controlled study with a biologically standardised extract of three pollens (alder, birch and hazel) administered by a rush schedule.

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  • 1Allergy Service, San Martino Hospital, Genoa, Italy.



sublingual immunotherapy has been recognised as safe and effective but it is still poorly documented in tree pollen allergy. Allergy to alder, birch and hazel is important in Northern European countries but its clinical relevance is increasing in Southern Europe.


thirty patients, selected and observed for one pollen season, were randomised to receive placebo (15 patients) or active treatment (15 patients). Twenty-seven patients completed the first year and 24 of them were treated with active therapy during the second year of the study in comparison to a parallel group of ten patients treated only with drugs. Symptom and drug scores during each pollen season, birch-specific IgE, changes in skin test reactivity, changes in specific Nasal Provocation Test and the daily average pollen count for the relevant trees were considered for the assessment of the efficacy of the treatment.


both active and placebo group showed a statistically significant improvement in scores in comparison to the previous year, under a lower allergenic pressure. The improvement was higher in the active group (76.04 % reduction of drugs) but not significantly different from that registered in the placebo group (37.05 % reduction). In the open phase of the study, treated patients showed significantly better scores in comparison to the control group. No significant changes in skin reactivity, specific IgE and Nasal Provocation Test were registered. SLIT tolerance was very good.


our data show a better but not statistically significant clinical outcome for patients actively treated with SLIT, but the placebo effect and the year-by-year variability of the environmental allergenic load in our small-size pilot study do not allow for a conclusive statement about the efficacy of this form of therapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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