Subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy (SCIT) is an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis, asthma, and venom allergy. Compliance is essential for SCIT to obtain maximal benefit as it is a long-term treatment.
This study aimed to determine the level of real-life SCIT compliance in pediatric patients and the associated factors. Additional aims were to determine how SCIT compliance was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and why some patients dropped out SCIT.
Pediatric patients diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, or venom allergy that received SCIT between September 2012 and July 2020 were analyzed.
The study included 201 children (66.7% male) with a median (interquartile range) age of 12.8 years (9.4–15.2) at the time of the first SCIT injection. The overall compliance rate before COVID-19 pandemic was 86.1%. Short SCIT follow-up time and venom anaphylaxis were found to be risk factors for drop out. The leading causes of drop outs were moving to another city/country (32.1%), symptom improvement (17.8%), treatment ineffectiveness (14.2%), and adverse reactions (14.2%). Among the 108 patients that were still receiving SCIT during the COVID-19 pandemic, 31 (28.7%) dropped out the therapy. The most frequent reasons for drop-out were fear of being infected with COVID-19 (35.4%) and thinking that the AIT practise stopped due to COVID-19 pandemic (29%). Male gender and older age were found to be the independent risk factors for drop-out of SCIT.