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J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 1996 Jul-Aug;6(4):248-55.

Effects of enzyme-potentiated desensitization in the treatment of pollinosis: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial.

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Dipartimento di Internistica Clinica e Sperimentale, II Università di Napoli, Italy.


Several controlled clinical trials have shown that specific immunotherapy (SIT) using incremental injections of allergens can be effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma. Nevertheless, the risk of side effects have led to some recommended limitations of SIT. Enzyme-potentiated desensitization (EPD) is a proposed method for immunotherapy with very low doses of mixed allergens plus beta-glucuronidase enzyme, for which irrelevant or no side effects have been claimed. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical efficacy of EPD in the treatment of pollinosis. A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of EPD among 20 patients sensitive to Parietaria and grass pollen was performed. All patients recorded daily symptom scores for nine months following a single intradermal injection of EPD or buffered saline received in February. Symptoms recorded were nasal itching and obstruction, sneezing, rhinorrhea, itchy eyes and excessive tear production. Moreover, total and specific lgE were measured and CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ peripheral blood lymphocytes were counted at different times. In the same period, ten additional subjects, with an allergic clinical profile similar to the subjects admitted to the double-blind trial, were studied in an open clinical trial in order to evaluate the effects of EPD without enzyme using a mixture of allergens. Symptom scores were higher in the placebo group (p < 0.001), with a similar level of significance for both global symptom score and for each individual symptom. Active-treated patients had a significant post-treatment increase in the mean percentage of T-CD8+ peripheral blood cells and a significant post-seasonal decrease in the mean percentage of Parietaria specific lgE. On the contrary, placebo-treated patients had a borderline significant post-seasonal decrease in the mean percentage of CD8+ circulating cells and a significant seasonal increase in the mean percentage of Parietaria specific lgE with no significant post-seasonal decrease. Finally, clinical results of the mixture of allergens injection were similar to those of the placebo in the double-blind trial. EPD injection caused only an asymptomatic, local wheal and flare lasting about two hours. Two patients (20%) in the active-treated group experienced a delayed, mild, unusual headache lasting about two days. In conclusion, EPD is clinically effective in the treatment of pollinosis. Some immunological modifications observed in the EPD-treated patients suggest an EPD-induced enhancement of tolerogenic mechanisms like "immune deviation."

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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