SAN DIEGO-Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is effective in controlling allergic symptoms in a preliminary patient cohort, according to a study presented April 27 at the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meeting. Offered as part of the American Rhinologic Society program, the study looked at SLIT as an alternative to traditional subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), which has resulted in several documented deaths and raised safety concerns.
Presenter Sarah K. Wise, MD, rhinology fellow and clinical instructor at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, told the audience that SLIT is routinely performed in Europe but has not been as popular as SCIT in the United States, in spite of reports of a shorter escalation period, few cases of systemic reactions, and easy administration by patients at home. Although the World Health Organization and the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology concluded in 1998 that SLIT is a viable alternative to SCIT, it has not yet been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Although worldwide studies have shown decreased allergy symptom scores, reduction in allergy medication use, improved quality of life, decreased bronchodilator use, decreased frequency of asthma exacerbations, and increased FEV1 and peak expiratory flow, US studies assessing the efficacy of SLIT are lacking, Dr. Wise said.