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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2003 Jan-Apr;16(1):73-9.

Long-term and preventive effects of sublingual allergen-specific immunotherapy: a retrospective, multicentric study.

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  • 1Villa Marelli Institute, Respiratory Allergy Dept., Ospedale Niguarda Cà Granda, Milan, Italy.


There is now an increasing body of evidence to support the practice of allergen-specific sublingual-swallow immunotherapy (SLIT) in the treatment of IgE-mediated respiratory allergies. Recent studies on traditional injection therapy have pointed out that this form of treatment is not only capable to decrease actual allergic symptoms, but may also have long-term clinical and preventive effects and may influence atopy natural history. In the year 2000, our group published a retrospective, multicenter study showing the efficacy and safety of SLIT in a survey of 302 patients. We now carried out a second study on the same patients, with the aim of investigating long-term and preventive effects of SLIT. Beside the well-known safety and efficacy of this treatment (80.8% of patients reported clinical benefits), SLIT proved also to elicit long term clinical effects: over a mean follow-up of 11.6 months after the end of treatment, 80.8% of patients still maintained the previously achieved benefits. During the follow-up period, only 1% of non-asthma patients reported an onset of respiratory symptoms, and only 9.6% of patients undergoing new skin tests showed new sensitizations. All the clinical benefits were strongly linked to the length of treatment: patients with long-lasting benefits were treated for a mean length of 29.1 months, while patients showing a return to pre-SLIT condition were treated for a mean 13.3 months. SLIT can obtain long-term and preventive effects so far attributed to injection immunotherapy.

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