Published Online: February 1, 2015
Allergen immunotherapy is the practice of treating allergy patients by exposing them to small amounts of the substance they are allergic to. Allergen immunotherapy delivered by shots has been shown to relieve symptoms associated with house dust mite-induced allergies. However, some patients find the frequent office visits required for the shots to be inconvenient and time-consuming. Self-administration of allergen immunotherapy at home by dissolvable tablets under the tongue (sublingually) may be easier for some patients.
In a study recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), H. Nolte and colleagues report the results of a clinical trial of a tablet used to treat house dust mite-related allergy. This trial was conducted using a room with a high amount of house dust mites to induce allergy symptoms over a period of 6 hours.
Over the course of 24 weeks, 124 patients were treated daily with either a high or low dose of the house dust mite tablet, or placebo. After 8, 16 and 24 weeks patients were then exposed again to house dust mite in the house dust mite room, where they scored their allergy symptoms.
Improvement of nose and eye symptoms with the high dose of house dust mite tablet began as early as week 8 of treatment (the earliest time examined), and increased over time. By week 24, the high dose of the house dust mite tablet improved nose symptoms by 49%, and eye symptoms by 68%, compared with placebo. Nose and eye symptoms also improved with the low dose house dust mite tablet, but to a lesser extent than the high dose. The data suggest that the tablet may also have an effect on improving asthma symptoms. However, this must be confirmed in additional studies. The most common side effects with both doses of the house dust mite tablet were mild to moderate throat irritation and swelling in the mouth for a short time after tablet intake during the first weeks.
The results of this study indicate that the higher dose of the house dust mite tablet effectively improved symptoms of house dust mite allergy, was well tolerated, and can be safely taken at home after the first dose is taken under medical supervision. Additional studies with the house dust mite tablet are currently ongoing.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.