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Update on Allergen Immunotherapy for Allergic Rhinitis: Drops, Tablets, or Shots?

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) is the only disease-modifying treatment available for allergic rhinitis (AR). Dosing considerations, efficacy, and safety of subcutaneous (SCIT), sublingual (SLIT), and intralymphatic (ILIT) immunotherapy are discussed.

Recent Findings

Patients with AR who cannot tolerate or do not wish to continue indefinite pharmacotherapy may be candidates for AIT. SCIT is the gold standard formulation but requires repeat injections over several years and may place the patient at risk for systemic allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis. SLIT has been developed as an alternative formulation by which the patient can avoid multiple injections and physician visits as it is dosed at home. SLIT has been proven to be very safe but still requires prolonged treatment, and efficacy compared to SCIT has been questioned. ILIT is currently being developed with the goal of shortening length of treatment while maintaining the efficacy and safety of SCIT and SLIT.

Summary

SCIT and SLIT are current options for patients wishing to undergo AIT. Further studies are required to determine if ILIT may become an effective option for patients who do not wish to undergo long-term treatments.

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Correspondence to Sandra Y. Lin.

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Dr. Christopher R. Roxbury and Dr. Sandra Y. Lin declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Special Topics In Otorhinolaryngology: Otolaryngic Allergy

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Roxbury, C.R., Lin, S.Y. Update on Allergen Immunotherapy for Allergic Rhinitis: Drops, Tablets, or Shots?. Curr Otorhinolaryngol Rep 5, 181–186 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40136-017-0159-z

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Keywords

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Allergen-specific immunotherapy
  • Sublingual immunotherapy
  • Subcutaneous immunotherapy
  • Intralymphatic immunotherapy