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Keywords:

  • anaphylaxis;
  • anaphylaxis prevention;
  • epinephrine treatment;
  • fatality;
  • genetics of anaphylaxis

To cite this article: Ben-Shoshan M, Clarke AE. Anaphylaxis: past, present and future. Allergy 2011; 66: 1–14.

Abstract

Anaphylaxis is a clinical emergency, and recent reports suggest increased prevalence. A diverse set of primary genetic and environmental influences may confer susceptibility to anaphylactic reactions. Anaphylaxis presents diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. It often manifests with a broad array of symptoms and signs that might be similar to other diseases. The management of anaphylaxis consists of emergency treatment of acute episodes as well as preventive strategies to avoid recurrences. Treatment is complicated by its rapid onset and progression, presence of concurrent diseases or medications, and need for long-term allergen avoidance. Health care professionals must be able to recognize the signs of anaphylaxis, treat an episode promptly and appropriately, and provide preventive recommendations. Recognizing the gaps in our understanding and management of anaphylaxis may help identify promising targets for future treatment and prevention and areas that require further study.