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      Optimal dose, efficacy, and safety of once-daily sublingual immunotherapy with a 5-grass pollen tablet for seasonal allergic rhinitis.

      The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

      Administration, Sublingual, Adolescent, Adult, Antigens, Plant, adverse effects, immunology, therapeutic use, Conjunctivitis, Allergic, diagnosis, therapy, Desensitization, Immunologic, methods, Double-Blind Method, Drug Administration Schedule, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Poaceae, Pollen, Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal, Tablets

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          Sublingual immunotherapy is well tolerated and data suggest its effectiveness for the treatment of allergic rhinitis in adults, but it lacks optimum dose definition. To assess the efficacy, safety, and optimal dose of grass pollen tablets for immunotherapy of patients with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. In this multinational, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 628 adults with grass pollen rhinoconjunctivitis (confirmed by positive skin prick test and serum-specific IgE) received 1 of 3 doses of a standardized 5-grass pollen extract, or placebo, administered sublingually using a once-daily tablet formulation. The treatment was initiated 4 months before the estimated pollen season and continued throughout the season. The primary outcome was Rhinoconjunctivitis Total Symptom Score; secondary outcomes included 6 individual symptom scores, rescue medication use, quality of life, and safety assessments. Both the 300-index of reactivity (IR) and 500-IR doses significantly reduced mean Rhinoconjunctivitis Total Symptom Score (3.58 +/- 3.0, P = .0001; and 3.74 +/- 3.1, P = .0006, respectively) compared with placebo (4.93 +/- 3.2) in the intent-to-treat and per-protocol analyses. The 100-IR group (4.70 +/- 3.1) score was not significantly different from placebo. Analysis of all secondary efficacy variables (sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes, itchy eyes, rescue medication usage, and quality of life) confirmed the efficacy of the 300-IR and 500-IR doses. No serious side effects were reported. In the first pollen season, the efficacy and safety of sublingual immunotherapy with grass tablets was confirmed. The 300-IR and 500-IR doses both demonstrated significant efficacy compared with placebo. The risk-benefit ratio favors the use of 300-IR tablets for clinical practice.

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