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Oral and sublingual immunotherapy in paediatric patients

Passalacqua, Giovannia; Baena-Cagnani, Carlos E.b; Berardi, Michelea; Canonica, Giorgio Waltera

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: April 2003 - Volume 3 - Issue 2 - p 139-145
Pediatric asthma and development of atopy

Purpose of review Sublingual immunotherapy is becoming a routine treatment for respiratory allergy in several countries and it has been validated in international documents. This article will review the available literature on oral and sublingual immunotherapy, discussing the possible use of sublingual immunotherapy in paediatric patients.

Recent findings As oral immunotherapy was found to be poorly effective in clinical trials, its use has been discontinued. In contrast, several controlled studies have shown the efficacy of sublingual immunotherapy in children with allergic asthma and rhinitis, and a postmarketing survey has confirmed its safety. Moreover, new data on the long-lasting efficacy of this treatment and on the absence of local immunological effects have recently been published.

Summary The clinical efficacy and the optimal safety profile of sublingual immunotherapy make it a good candidate for treating respiratory allergy in children. Some aspects, such as the dose-response relationship and preventive effect, will be a research challenge for future developments and better definition of indications in children.

aAllergy and Respiratory Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Italy, and bDivision of Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Department of Paediatrics, Infantile Hospital, Cordoba, Argentina

Correspondence to Giorgio Walter Canonica MD, Allergy and Respiratory Diseases, DIMI, Padiglione Maragliano, L.go R. Benzi 10, 16132 Genoa, Italy Tel: +39 010 3538908; fax: +39 010 3538904; email:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.