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Monday, July 8, 2013

SLIT immunotherapy in South Africa

In a new series for the Journal, “Allergy and clinical immunology around the world,” Paul Potter, MD, describes sublingual immunotherapy practice in South Africa, which is based on recommendations put forth by the Allergy Society of South Africa [J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013; 132(1): 99-100].  Because of the long grass pollen season, approximately 8 months, seasonal rhinitis in the region is reclassified as persistent rhinitis, for which SLIT is indicated. 

Potter notes that SLIT has been available for 15 years in South Africa.  European vaccines are employed for Bermuda/rye grass pollens and D. pteronyssinus/farinae for mite allergies.  Patients eligible for SLIT must be sensitive to only one allergen per the recommendations, though 80% of the patient population is allergic to multiple allergens. 

The author reports that clinical trials for SLIT in South Africa have had variable outcome agreement, in spite of significant efficacy results.  A retrospective review is discussed by Potter who notes that the drop-out rate is highest in the first year of a 3-year intervention.  Reasons for discontinuing study participation were most commonly financial and logistic.  He discusses additional findings that implementing 6-month follow-up contact with subjects and administering a quality of life questionnaire increases compliance with therapy and completion of the full course of treatment. 

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