Systematic reviews of sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)


  • Edited by: Thomas Bieber

Stephen Durham, Department of Allergy and Respiratory medicine, Royal Brompton Hospital, Imperial College-NHLI, London, UK.
Tel.: +44 20 7351 8992
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To cite this article: Radulovic S, Wilson D, Calderon M, Durham S. Systematic reviews of sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). Allergy 2011; 66: 740–752.


Allergic rhinitis is common worldwide, with significant morbidity and impact on quality of life. In patients who don’t respond adequately to anti-allergic drugs. Subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy is effective although requires specialist administration. Sublingual immunotherapy may represent an effective and safer alternative. This Cochrane systematic review is an update of one published in 2003. We searched Cochrane ENT Group Trials Register, Central, PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, Biosis Previews, Cambridge Scientific Abstarcts, mRCT and additional sources. We included randomised, double-blind, placebo- controlled trials of sublingual immunotherapy in adults and children. Two authors selected studies and assessed them for quality. Data were put into RevMan 5.0 for a statistical analysis. We used standardised mean difference (SMD), with a random effect model to combine data. Sixty studies were included, with 49 suitable for meta-analysis. We found significant reductions in symptoms (SMD −0.49; 95%CI (−0.64 to −0.34, P < 0.00001)) and medication requirements (SMD −0.32; 95%CI (−0.43 to −0.21, P < 0.00001)) compared with placebo. None of the trials reported severe systemic reactions, anaphylaxis or use of Adrenaline. This updated review reinforces the conclusion of the original 2003 Cochrane Review that sublingual immunotherapy is effective for allergic rhinitis and appears a safe route of administration.