Allergen immunotherapy results in decreased sensitivity to allergens, observed clinically and demonstrated by laboratory techniques, in response to the gradual administration of increasing doses of allergenic extracts. Allergen immunotherapy is used to treat allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic asthma, and insect hypersensitivity. During the first half of the century, efficacy of allergen immunotherapy was based primarily on clinical observations. However, over the past 40 years, the fascinating, scientific investigations of allergens and of the immunologic complexities of the allergic reaction have improved our understanding of immunotherapy with allergens, such as pollens, molds, animal danders, house dust mites, and insect venoms. Allergen extract injections affect the immunologic response both systemically and at the mucosal membrane surface of the nose and bronchi. This chapter will address the subject of allergen immunotherapy for allergic rhinitis and/or allergic asthma. Immunotherapy for insect hypersensitivity is reviewed in Chapter 6.
KeywordsAllergic Rhinitis Pollen Season Allergic Asthma Grass Pollen House Dust Mite
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