IgE hypersensitivity is important to the pathogenesis of allergic diseases and the development and persistence of airway inflammation. Allergic immunomodulation encompasses various therapies that attempt to suppress or modify the immune mechanisms responsible for IgE-mediated disease. These include allergy immunotherapy (AIT) in the forms of subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) and sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), as well as the emergence of biological agents, such as anti-IgE, for allergic respiratory disease. Clinical evidence strongly supports the efficacy and safety of AIT for the treatment of allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and allergic asthma, but for chronic rhinosinusitis evidence is lacking. In allergic rhinitis, the decision to initiate AIT depends on the degree to which symptoms can be reduced by avoidance and medication, the amount and type of medication required to control symptoms, the adverse effects of medication, the severity and duration of symptoms, and their effect on quality of life. AIT has the potential to produce sustained long-lasting immune modulation and possibly avoid or reduce lifelong requirements for medical therapy. Although SLIT is currently being evaluated, SCIT remains the preferred form of AIT in the United States because of robust efficacy data, availability of allergen extracts, and current Food and Drug Administration approval. However, SLIT holds the potential for greater patient safety and convenience. Other immunomodulators such as anti-IgE also hold promise, but require further investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy