October 1, 2012
Children Can Find Relief After 3 Years of Allergy Shots
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Three years of allergy shots - or immunotherapy - may be enough to control allergic asthma, according to research published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
"The recommended duration of immunotherapy for long-term effectiveness has been three to five years," Iwona Stelmach, MD, PhD, lead study author, said. "Our research shows that three years is an adequate duration for the treatment of childhood asthma associated with house dust mites. An additional two years adds no clinical benefit."
Immunotherapy is able to alter the progression of allergic disease. The treatment helps to alleviate symptoms, while also preventing asthma and the development of other allergies.
The study found that 50 percent of children with asthma due to dust mites experienced remission after three years of treatment.
"It has long been observed that the effectiveness of allergy shots continue long after treatment has been completed," allergist James Sublett, MD, chair of the ACAAI Indoor Environment Committee, said. "This study is among the first to look at the benefits of different lengths of therapy. Not only does immunotherapy provide long-term therapeutic benefits for both children and adults, it can reduce total healthcare costs by 33 to 41 percent."
High levels of exposure to dust mites are a factor in the development of asthma and allergies in children.
Children who are allergic to dust mites react to proteins found within the bodies and feces of the mites. These particles can be found in pillows, mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals and upholstered furniture. Scientists believe there could be as many as 19,000 dust mites in one gram of dust.
These mites eat particles of skin and dander, so they tend to live in places where there are people and animals, making it hard to relieve symptoms particularly difficult without immunotherapy.
Doctors have been using immunotherapy for five year terms in order to try and relieve symptoms, but this latest research shows that the allergy shots are not needed for that long.