Purpose of review
Given the widespread prevalence of allergic disease, its substantially associated clinical and economic burden, the unique disease-modifying benefits of allergy immunotherapy (AIT), and increased availability of sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), a critical update of the evidence for AIT-related cost savings [for both subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) and SLIT] is particularly relevant and timely. The present article reviews the evidence for SCIT-related and SLIT-related cost savings derived from a systematic review of the published literature.
Examined were 24 publications pertaining to the health economics of AIT. Except for one early study comparing the costs of AIT to symptomatic drug treatment (SDT), the remainder provide compelling evidence for AIT cost savings (whether SCIT or SLIT) over SDT. Furthermore, of the six studies comparing cost outcomes of SLIT to SCIT, four reported cost savings favoring SLIT.
This review, spanning research from Southern Europe, Scandinavia, Northern Europe, North America, and the Czech Republic, encompasses a range of perennial and seasonal allergic conditions, including allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis with or without asthma, and rhinoconjunctivitis with or without allergic rhinitis due to house dust mite, grass or ragweed pollen, or a mixture of various allergens. All but one study compellingly demonstrate cost savings conferred by AIT over SDT.