Published Online: July 18, 2013
Traditional allergy immunotherapy has been shown to be associated with long-term benefits to the allergy sufferer, but typically requires many years of treatment, involving many injections. For this reason, patients find it difficult to complete their therapy. In a study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Efficacy of a short-course of specific immunotherapy in patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis to ragweed, Patel et al. demonstrated that an ultra-short course (4 injections) of ragweed specific immunotherapy (SIT) containing a modified short ragweed pollen allergoid adsorbed onto tyrosine (MATA, Modified Allergen Tyrosine Absorbate) with an innovative adjuvant, monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL) provided relief in allergic symptoms due to ragweed pollen exposure.
In this study, 228 ragweed allergic patients received four weekly injections of either Ragweed MATA MPL or a placebo. Patients’ allergic responses of both nasal and non-nasal symptoms to ragweed pollen were examined in an environmental exposure chamber (a room designed to expose all patients safely to the same consistent level of ragweed pollen) before receiving any treatment, and again following treatment. Patients receiving Ragweed MATA MPL SIT showed a significant 48% improvement in their allergic symptoms compared to patients receiving placebo. Importantly, the study also demonstrated a good safety and tolerability profile.
Beyond the significant treatment effect, the ultra short course SIT studied in this trial offers several potential benefits to both patients and their doctors. Its convenience over traditional SIT likely leads to improved patient adherence to the treatment and the reduced overall time commitment for an effective treatment might permit more patients to consider the SIT approach.
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.