December 13, 2013
AAAAI Points to Appropriate Use and Benefits of Allergy Immunotherapy
MILWAUKEE, WI – As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moved closer this week to approving the first sublingual immunotherapy treatment options in the United States, awareness should be brought to the appropriate use and benefits of allergy immunotherapy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
Allergy immunotherapy works to decrease sensitivity to allergens. It is a form of long-term treatment that decreases symptoms for many people with allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic asthma, conjunctivitis (eye allergy) or stinging insect allergy. Instead of shots that are injected, the two sublingual immunotherapy options that were just recommended for approval by an FDA advisory committee are tablets that are placed under the tongue. These particular products are single allergen options, targeted specifically to people who have grass allergies.
“Allergy immunotherapy is an important treatment for allergic diseases. Used appropriately and under the guidance of a physician trained in allergy/immunology, sublingual immunotherapy should provide a safe and effective new therapeutic option for the millions of Americans suffering from allergies,” said AAAAI Executive Vice President Thomas B. Casale, MD, FAAAAI.
Aside from being a treatment with long-term effectiveness, allergy immunotherapy has other benefits according to AAAAI President Linda Cox, MD, FAAAAI. “Allergy immunotherapy is the only available treatment for allergic rhinitis that is potentially curative and may prevent the progression from allergic rhinitis to asthma,” said Dr. Cox. “Gaining FDA-approved forms of sublingual immunotherapy will be huge in terms of treatment options for patients.”
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently published a review that found allergy immunotherapy is safe and effective for treating nasal allergies and mild asthma in adults and children.
The AAAAI website has more information on allergy immunotherapy. An allergist/immunologist is a trained specialist in diagnosing the need for and administering allergy immunotherapy.
The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 6,700 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.