How long does the effect of birch pollen injection SIT on apple allergy last?


Dr Riccardo Asero
Ambulatorio di Allergologia
Clinica San Carlo via Ospedale 21
20037 Paderno Dugnano (MI)


Background: Recent studies showed that injection specific immunotherapy (SIT) with birch pollen extract greatly reduces or cures the associated apple allergy in a large proportion of birch pollen-allergic patients. However, the long-term efficacy of SIT for apple allergy has not been assessed.

Objective: To evaluate the duration of the effect of injection SIT with birch pollen extract on apple allergy in birch pollen-allergic patients.

Methods: Thirty birch pollen-allergic patients showing both the clinical disappearance of apple allergy and a negative SPT with fresh apple at the end of their injection SIT course were followed-up at 12-month intervals from 6 months after SIT was stopped. Apple tolerance as well as SPT was assessed on all occasions. Fifty-seven birch pollen-allergic subjects without apple allergy and not submitted to SIT regularly followed-up for the onset of oral allergy syndrome (OAS) were used as controls.

Results: The overall prevalence of OAS after 30 months of follow-up did not differ between patients and controls. Although most patients became re-sensitized to apple by SPT over time, >50% of them were still able to tolerate eating the fruit at the 30-month follow-up visit.

Conclusion: Although most patients show a ‘natural’, gradual propensity to apple re-sensitization (a consequence of prolonged and repeated inhalation of birch pollen responsible for primary sensitization?), the clinical effects of injection SIT on food allergy seem rather long lasting.