Background: There is only very limited documentation of the efficacy and safety of high-dose subcutaneous birch pollen immunotherapy (IT) in double-blind, placebo-controlled (DBPC) studies. Birch pollen is a major cause of allergic morbidity in northern Europe and in eastern parts of North America. Methods: Thirty-five patients with severe rhinoconjunctivitis (hay fever) to birch pollen were allocated to double-blinded clustered IT with a depot birch pollen extract (Betula verrucosa) or placebo injections. Seven patients in each group had concomitant self-reported seasonal asthma. Treatment was conducted as a clustered regimen and was performed in a specialist unit. Symptom scores from nose, eyes, and lungs, and use of oral and topical antihistamines, beta-2-agonists, and oral corticosteroids were recorded daily during the season of 2000. Sensitivity to allergen provocation in skin, conjunctiva, and nasal mucosa was measured before and after 10 months of treatment. Post-seasonal assessment of symptom severity was performed using a simple questionnaire. Results: IT reduced the symptom score for both rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma (P-values < 0.05), total medication score (P < 0.02) and use of oral antihistamines (P < 0.01). IT reduced specific conjunctival sensitivity (P < 0.05), skin prick test, and especially cutaneous late-phase response diameters (P < 0.00001), and increased general well-being on post-seasonal evaluation (P<0.01). IT was safe, with side-effects at the same level as placebo. Conclusions: High-dose, subcutaneous IT is efficacious and safe in patients with severe birch pollen rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma.
|Tidsskrift||Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology|
|Status||Udgivet - 16 apr. 2002|