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Sublingual Immunotherapy Effective for Allergies

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TUESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Current studies show moderate evidence that sublingual immunotherapy is effective for allergic rhinitis, although the optimal dosing is unclear, according to a review published in the March 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Noting that sublingual immunotherapy is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of allergic rhinitis, Sandra Y. Lin, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues identified and reviewed 63 studies involving 5,131 participants that examined the efficacy of sublingual immunotherapy for patients with allergic rhinitis.

The researchers found strong evidence that sublingual immunotherapy improves asthma symptoms, moderate evidence that treatment decreases rhinitis or rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms, and moderate grade evidence that treatment reduces medication use for asthma and allergies. They also found moderate evidence that sublingual immunotherapy improves conjunctivitis symptoms, combined symptom and medication scores, and disease-specific quality of life. There were local reactions but no reports of anaphylaxis.

"The overall evidence provides a moderate grade level of evidence to support the effectiveness of sublingual immunotherapy for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma, but high-quality studies are still needed to answer questions regarding optimal dosing strategies," Lin and colleagues conclude.

One author reported serving as a consultant to Wellpoint.

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