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Patient adherence to allergy immunotherapy

Reisacher, William R.; Visaya, Jiovani M.

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: June 2013 - Volume 21 - Issue 3 - p 256–262
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e32835f8048
ALLERGY: Edited by Sandra Lin

Purpose of review This article reviews the literature on patient adherence to two different approaches to allergen-specific immunotherapy for allergic disease. Factors related to adherence in general, as well as the various methods used to measure adherence, will be discussed.

Recent findings Although a complex interaction of factors related to both the physician and the patient influence the adherence to a particular therapeutic regimen, effective communication between these two parties and the simplicity of the regimen are frequently noted to be of primary importance. Variability with respect to the definition of adherence, the method of measuring adherence, and the length of the measuring period has resulted in a wide range of adherence rates to allergy immunotherapy reported in the literature. Patients most often site inconvenience, side-effects, and poor efficacy as reasons for discontinuing allergy immunotherapy.

Summary Adherence to therapy not only improves individual patient outcomes, but also helps determine the best treatment modalities and reduces the burden of disease on society. As new methods of delivering immunotherapy are being developed, such as allergy immunotherapy tablets and oral mucosal immunotherapy, the factors associated with patient adherence should be carefully considered.

Correspondence to William R. Reisacher, MD, FACS, FAAOA, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, 1305 York Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10021, USA. Tel: +1 646 962 2093; fax: +1 646 962 0100; e-mail:

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins