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Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2014 Jan 20;10(1):4. doi: 10.1186/1710-1492-10-4.

Aluminium adjuvants and adverse events in sub-cutaneous allergy immunotherapy.

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1
The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK. c.exley@keele.ac.uk.

Abstract

Sub-cutaneous immunotherapy is an effective treatment for allergy. It works by helping to modify or re-balance an individual's immune response to allergens and its efficacy is greatly improved by the use of adjuvants, most commonly, aluminium hydroxide. Aluminium salts have been used in allergy therapy for many decades and are assumed to be safe with few established side-effects. This assumption belies their potency as adjuvants and their potential for biological reactivity both at injection sites and elsewhere in the body. There are very few data purporting to the safety of aluminium adjuvants in allergy immunotherapy and particularly so in relation to longer term health effects. There are, if only few, published reports of adverse events following allergy immunotherapy and aluminium adjuvants are the prime suspects in the majority of such incidents. Aluminium adjuvants are clearly capable of initiating unwanted side effects in recipients of immunotherapy and while there is as yet no evidence that such are commonplace it is complacent to consider aluminium salts as harmless constituents of allergy therapies. Future research should establish the safety of the use of aluminium adjuvants in sub-cutaneous allergy immunotherapy.

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