Pediatric allergies are the third most common chronic condition among children under the age of 18.† Particularly concerning is the rapid increase in food allergy.
More importantly, food allergy is associated with significant and debilitating conditions including asthma, chronic ill health, chronic headaches, among others. Until now, the approach to food allergy has been avoidance, leading to associated problems such as frustration, feelings of inferiority, accidental exposure, teenage risk-taking behavior, etc.
Beginning in infancy, children can be treated with allergy drops. Because sublingual immunotherapy uses carefully measured frequent doses, allergy providers can treat children early on and address the allergy’s root cause before it develops into related conditions. This treatment, which is easy to implement and free of significant side effects, has led to improved quality of life and decreased the incidence of allergy-related disease. This impact on disease incidence has the potential to create significant savings in allergy-related healthcare spending—an additional treatment benefit.
† Emanuel, I., Parker, M., Traub, O. (2009). Undertreatment of allergy: Exploring the utility of sublingual immunotherapy. Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 140, 615-621.
Preventive Effects of Sublingual Immunotherapy in Childhood
A 2008 study reviewed 216 children with allergic rhinitis with and without intermittent asthma for a period of three years. The children were randomized to receive drugs or drugs plus sublingual immunotherapy. New allergic sensitizations appeared in 34.8% of the control group/drugs only and in 3.1% of the sublingual immunotherapy group. Mild persistent asthma was also reported less frequently in the children who received sublingual immunotherapy.
There was also a significant decrease in clinical scores in the sublingual immunotherapy group versus the control group that was evident from the first year of treatment and was ongoing. The number of children with a positive methacholine challenge result decreased significantly after three years only in the sublingual immunotherapy treatment group. The conclusions of this study state that, in everyday clinical practice, sublingual immunotherapy reduced the onset of new allergic sensitizations and mild persistent asthma and decreased the bronchial hyperactivity in children with respiratory allergy.
Marogna, M., Tomassetti, D., Bernasconi, A., Colombo, F., Massolo, A., Di RienzoBusinco, A., Canonica, G.W. et al Preventive effects of sublingual immunotherapy in childhood: An open randomized controlled study. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2008; vol. 101 p. 206-211.