Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Allergy Shots Offer Safe Relief For Hay Fever, Review Concludes

Date:
January 29, 2007
Source:
Center For The Advancement Of Health
Summary:
Allergy shots are effective and safe for reducing symptoms of hay fever, according to a new review. The injection series caused no deaths and few serious adverse reactions in 51 controlled studies. Dr. Moises Calderon, of Royal Brompton Hospital in London, and colleagues evaluated the results from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis due to tree, grass or weed pollens.

Allergy shots are effective and safe for reducing symptoms of hay fever, according to a new review. The injection series caused no deaths and few serious adverse reactions in 51 controlled studies.

Related Articles


Dr. Moises Calderon, of Royal Brompton Hospital in London, and colleagues evaluated the results from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis due to tree, grass or weed pollens. The studies involved 2,871 participants.

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is an immune reaction to allergens such as dust, pollen, pet dander or mold. It usually results in sneezing, watery eyes and an itchy, drippy nose when sufferers come into contact with their allergy triggers.

The incidence of hay fever has been on the rise worldwide over the last two decades, especially in developed countries. Some allergy patients can control their symptoms by avoiding their allergy triggers or by taking antihistamines or other drugs, including nasal steroids. Other patients need stronger measures.

In allergy shot regimens, also known as immunotherapy, tiny amounts of an allergen, such as pollen, are injected under the skin, with the dosages gradually increased over the course of the treatment. Injections can contain one or more allergens.

After the initial treatment, the patient usually undergoes a series of maintenance injections over the next several years. This essentially desensitizes the patient to the allergen.

But deaths or serious adverse reactions to immunotherapy have been reported, causing its use to be limited in some parts of the world.

However, the Cochrane reviewers determined that the injections resulted in significant reductions in symptoms and less need for allergy medications when used in suitably selected patients with hay fever. Overall, quality of life was better for people who had undergone the treatment. The studies showed no long-term consequences from adverse events and no fatalities.

"We conclude that injection immunotherapy is a safe and valid treatment option in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis," the reviewers said.

The studies covered in the review used treatments ranging in length from three days to three years. Patients were shown to have allergies by a blood test or a skin-prick test.

The use of this treatment is extremely well accepted by allergists, but has been met with some skepticism by the rest of the medical community, said allergist Linda Cox, M.D. "I think it has always been a given that immunotherapy is effective for hay fever. There is very little debate on that," said Cox, who is chair of the Immunotherapy and Allergy Diagnostics Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Immunotherapy is especially safe when done by an allergist, who is trained to deal with the rare instances of adverse reactions to the injections, Cox said. The leading risk factor for an adverse reaction to the shots is symptomatic asthma.

Adverse reactions to injections include itching of the nose and eyes, redness of the face, itching of the throat with cough, moderate wheezing and hives. The review reported two cases of anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction, among patients receiving injections.

For the most part, adverse reactions that occurred were generally mild, and those that were not responded to injections of adrenaline, the review noted.

Between 13 percent and 38 percent of people with hay fever also suffer from asthma, making them poor candidates for allergy shot regimens, according to the Cochrane authors.

The reviewers did not analyze cost-effectiveness, as few studies of the costs of the treatment have been performed.

More important is that the treatment has been shown to alter the progression of the allergic response, said Cox, who has a practice in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Patients who undergo immunotherapy are less likely to go on to develop asthma, she said. "There is a significant difference in the development of asthma."

Reference: Calderon MA, et al. Allergen injection immunotherapy for seasonal allergic rhinitis (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 1.

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international nonprofit, independent organization that produces and disseminates systematic reviews of health care interventions and promotes the search for evidence in the form of clinical trials and other studies of interventions. Visit http://www.cochrane.org for more information.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center For The Advancement Of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Allergy Shots Offer Safe Relief For Hay Fever, Review Concludes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070128141109.htm>.
Center For The Advancement Of Health. (2007, January 29). Allergy Shots Offer Safe Relief For Hay Fever, Review Concludes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070128141109.htm
Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Allergy Shots Offer Safe Relief For Hay Fever, Review Concludes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070128141109.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins