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Preseasonal local allergoid immunotherapy to grass pollen in children: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial


Dr Carlo Caffarelli
Clinica Pediatrica
Via Gramsci, 14
43100 Parma
Tel. 0521 991207
Fax: 0521 290458


Background: We assessed the efficacy of preseasonal local allergoid immunotherapy in a group of children with asthma and/or rhinitis and/or rhinoconjunctivitis due to grass pollen.

Methods: We randomly assigned 24 children allergic to grass pollen to receivelocal allergoid immunotherapy for 3 months before the pollen season and 24 such patients to receive identically appearing placebo. The immunotherapy consisted of tablets of monomeric allergoid grass pollen allergens held in the mouth until they dissolved and then swallowed. The study was double-blind. Symptoms and medications were scored on diary cards during the pollen season. Nasal eosinophil cationic protein levels were measured by the monoclonal antibodies EG1 and EG2 outside the pollen season and at low and at high pollen concentration during the pollen season.

Results: The active-treatment group had a statistically significant reduction of total symptoms (P<0.05), especially bronchial symptoms (P<0.05), in comparison with the placebo group. Immunotherapy was well tolerated and compliance was good. Nasal levels of EG2 and EG1 increased significantly during the pollen season, but there was no difference between groups. EG2/EG1 increased significantly only in the placebo group during natural allergen exposure (P<0.01).

Conclusions: Our results suggest that this immunotherapy is effective for the treatment of asthma due to grass pollen in children.