Background Traditional subeutaneous immunotherepy has been proved effective in birch pollenosis. It has, however, some drawbacks as systeic reactions, which are rare but important. Local nasal immunotherapy (LNIT)represents a potential safer route of allergen administration.
Objective To study the clinical efficacy and safety of local nasal immunotherapy by means of an extract in powder form as treatment of birch allergic rhinitis.
Methods Thirty birch allergic patients have been selected on the basis of a positive history, skin test, radioalllergosorbent test assay (RAST)and specific nasal challange. Two 15 patient groups were randomly assigned to the active treatment or to the placebo one. Treatment lasted 22 weeks (14 for the build-up phase and eight for the maintenance period)and symptoms were recorded during the treatment and the birch pollen season.
Results The clinical efficacy of LNIT is suggested by a significant reduction of medication score only in the treated group during the pollen season, although the symptom score was significant increase of specific nasal thereshold dose was obserbved after treatment only in the active treated group. Mild adverse reaction to LNIT, limited to the upper respiratory tract, were reported during the treatment in the active group, but they did not interface with LNIT schedule. No asthmatic or systemic reaction were observed.
Conclusions This Study Indicates that LNIT with allergen in powder form has proven clinically effective in the treatment of birch allergic rhinitis. Further studies are needed to establish weather this treatment can be considered a real alternative to the traditional subeutaneous immunotherapy in birch allergic rhinitis.