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      Subcutaneous Allergen Immunotherapy in Children: Real Life Compliance and Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Compliance


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          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.


          Real life compliance in children was found 13.9% and it was higher than adults. Nearly one-third of children dropped out during the CO­VID-19 pandemic. Male gender and older age are associated with SCIT drop-out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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          Most cited references24

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          International consensus on allergy immunotherapy.

          Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) has been used to treat allergic disease since the early 1900s. Despite numerous clinical trials and meta-analyses proving AIT efficacious, it remains underused and is estimated to be used in less than 10% of patients with allergic rhinitis or asthma worldwide. In addition, there are large differences between regions, which are not only due to socioeconomic status. There is practically no controversy about the use of AIT in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma, but for atopic dermatitis or food allergy, the indications for AIT are not well defined. The elaboration of a wider consensus is of utmost importance because AIT is the only treatment that can change the course of allergic disease by preventing the development of asthma and new allergen sensitizations and by inducing allergen-specific immune tolerance. Safer and more effective AIT strategies are being continuously developed both through elaboration of new allergen preparations and adjuvants and alternate routes of administration. A number of guidelines, consensus documents, or both are available on both the international and national levels. The international community of allergy specialists recognizes the need to develop a comprehensive consensus report to harmonize, disseminate, and implement the best AIT practice. Consequently, the International Collaboration in Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, formed by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; and the World Allergy Organization, has decided to issue an international consensus on AIT.
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            Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines: 2010 revision.

            Allergic rhinitis represents a global health problem affecting 10% to 20% of the population. The Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines have been widely used to treat the approximately 500 million affected patients globally. To develop explicit, unambiguous, and transparent clinical recommendations systematically for treatment of allergic rhinitis on the basis of current best evidence. The authors updated ARIA clinical recommendations in collaboration with Global Allergy and Asthma European Network following the approach suggested by the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation working group. This article presents recommendations about the prevention of allergic diseases, the use of oral and topical medications, allergen specific immunotherapy, and complementary treatments in patients with allergic rhinitis as well as patients with both allergic rhinitis and asthma. The guideline panel developed evidence profiles for each recommendation and considered health benefits and harms, burden, patient preferences, and resource use, when appropriate, to formulate recommendations for patients, clinicians, and other health care professionals. These are the most recent and currently the most systematically and transparently developed recommendations about the treatment of allergic rhinitis in adults and children. Patients, clinicians, and policy makers are encouraged to use these recommendations in their daily practice and to support their decisions. Copyright (c) 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Global strategy for the diagnosis and management of asthma in children 5 years and younger.

              Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and the leading cause of childhood morbidity from chronic disease as measured by school absences, emergency department visits, and hospitalisation. During the past two decades, many scientific advances have improved our understanding of asthma and our ability to manage and control it effectively. However, in children 5 years and younger, the clinical symptoms of asthma are variable and non-specific. Furthermore, neither airflow limitation nor airway inflammation, the main pathologic hallmarks of the condition, can be assessed routinely in this age group. For this reason, to aid in the diagnosis of asthma in young children, a symptoms-only descriptive approach that includes the definition of various wheezing phenotypes has been recommended. In 1993, the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) was implemented to develop a network of individuals, organizations, and public health officials to disseminate information about the care of patients with asthma while at the same time assuring a mechanism to incorporate the results of scientific investigations into asthma care. Since then, GINA has developed and regularly revised a Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention. Publications based on the Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention have been translated into many different languages to promote international collaboration and dissemination of information. In this report, Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention in Children 5 Years and Younger, an effort has been made to present the special challenges that must be taken into account in managing asthma in children during the first 5 years of life, including difficulties with diagnosis, the efficacy and safety of drugs and drug delivery systems, and the lack of data on new therapies. Approaches to these issues will vary among populations in the world based on socioeconomic conditions, genetic diversity, cultural beliefs, and differences in healthcare access and delivery. Patients in this age group are often managed by pediatricians and general practitioners routinely faced with a wide variety of issues related to childhood diseases. Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

                Author and article information

                Int Arch Allergy Immunol
                Int Arch Allergy Immunol
                International Archives of Allergy and Immunology
                S. Karger AG (Allschwilerstrasse 10, P.O. Box · Postfach · Case postale, CH–4009, Basel, Switzerland · Schweiz · Suisse, Phone: +41 61 306 11 11, Fax: +41 61 306 12 34, karger@karger.com )
                22 April 2021
                : 182
                : 7
                : 631-636
                Department of Pediatric Allergy, Hacettepe University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
                Author notes
                *Ümit M. Şahiner, umsahner@ 123456yahoo.com

                Edited by: H.-U. Simon, Bern.

                Copyright © 2021 by S. Karger AG, Basel

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic or until permissions are revoked in writing. Upon expiration of these permissions, PMC is granted a perpetual license to make this article available via PMC and Europe PMC, consistent with existing copyright protections.

                : 25 November 2020
                : 20 January 2021
                : 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 24, Pages: 6
                Clinical Allergy − Research Article

                subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy,children,compliance,coronavirus disease 2019
                subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy, children, compliance, coronavirus disease 2019


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