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J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2014 Mar-Apr;2(2):152-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2014.01.003.

The special challenge of nonadherence with sublingual immunotherapy.

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Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colo. Electronic address:
Department of Medicine, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers, NJ.


Patient nonadherence is a problem that impacts all chronic illness treatments. To determine the degree of nonadherence and its impact on treatment effect in sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), we conducted a systematic review of published research that assessed adherence or tested interventions to improve SLIT adherence. Adherence to SLIT is similar to other long-term therapies. Across studies, 55% to 82% of patients abandoned SLIT before completing the recommended course of therapy. Only 1 study attempted to test an educational intervention to improve SLIT adherence. Composite evidence indicates that 3 to 5 years of sustained SLIT is required for full long-term benefits, but fewer than half of the patients on SLIT persist to that point. Surprisingly little research has addressed the consequence of partial adherence, including implication to its cost-benefit profile or strategies to improve adherence. Lessons from research into treatments of other chronic health conditions suggest several adherence interventions that may be applied to SLIT, including strategic use of communication and education tools, incorporation of standardized follow-up visits, and employment of telecommunication technologies.


Adherence; Sublingual immunotherapy

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