Allergen immunotherapy for the prevention of allergy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Sangeeta Dhami
  • Gopal Netuveli
  • Susanne Halken
  • Muraro Antonella
  • Graham Roberts
  • Desiree Larenas-Linnemann
  • Moises A. Calderón
  • Martin Penagos
  • George Du Toit
  • Ignacio J. Ansotegui
  • Jörg Kleine-Tebbe
  • Susanne Lau
  • Paolo Maria Matricardi
  • Giovanni Pajno
  • Nikolaos G. Papadopoulos
  • Oliver Pfaar
  • Dermot Ryan
  • Alexandra F. Santos
  • Frans Timmermanns
  • Ulrich Wahn
  • Aziz Sheikh
Background: There is a need to establish the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and safety of allergen immunotherapy (AIT) for the prevention of allergic disease.
Methods:Two reviewers independently screened nine international biomedical databases. Studies were quantitatively synthesized using random-effects meta-analyses.
Results: 32 studies satisfied the inclusion criteria. Overall, meta-analysis found no conclusive evidence that AIT reduced the risk of developing a first allergic disease over the short-term (RR=0.30; 95%CI 0.04 to 2.09) and no randomized controlled evidence was found in relation to its longer-term effects for this outcome. There was however a reduction in the short-term risk of those with allergic rhinitis developing asthma (RR=0.40; 95%CI 0.29 to 0.54), with this finding being robust to a pre-specified sensitivity analysis. We found inconclusive evidence that this benefit was maintained over the longer-term: RR=0.62; 95%CI 0.31 to 1.23. There was evidence that the risk of new sensitization was reduced over the short-term, but this was not confirmed in the sensitivity analysis: RR=0.72; 95%CI 0.24 to 2.18. There was no clear evidence of any longer-term reduction in the risk of sensitization: RR=0.47; 95%CI 0.08 to 2.77. AIT appeared to have an acceptable side-effect profile.
Conclusions: AIT did not result in a statistically significant reduction in the risk of developing a first allergic disease. There was however evidence of a reduced short-term risk of developing asthma in those with allergic rhinitis, but it is unclear whether this benefit was maintained over the longer-term. We are unable to comment on the cost-effectiveness of AIT.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Allergy and Immunology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)18–29
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

ID: 166059175