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Special Article


Sublingual Immunotherapy in Polysensitized Patients: Effect on Quality of Life


G Ciprandi,1 G Cadario,2 C Valle,3 E Ridolo,4 M Verini,5 M Di Gioacchino,6 M Minelli,7 S Gangemi,8 V Sillano,9 C Colangelo,10 V Pravettoni,11 R Pellegrino,12 P Borrelli,13 A Fiorina,14 A Carosso,15 A Gasparini,16 GG Riario-Sforza,17 C Incorvaia,17 P Puccinelli,18 S Scurati,18 F Frati18

1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
2Allergy and Clinical Immunology Unit, San Giovanni Battista (Molinette) Hospital, Turin, Italy
3Allergy Unit, San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy
4Department of Clinical Sciences, University Hospital, Parma, Italy
5Unit of Allergy and Respiratory Pathophysiology, Pediatrics, Ospedale Clinicizzato, Chieti, Italy
6Department of Medicine and Sciences of Ageing, Immunology and Occupational Medicine, University G.
D’Annunzio, Chieti, Italy
7Department of General Medicine, Allergy, Campi Salentina Hospital, Lecce, Italy
8Unit of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Policlinico Hospital, Messina, Italy
9Ambulatorio di Allergologia di Corsico, Az. Osp di Legnano, Italy
10Ambulatorio di Allergologia, Ospedale Spirito Santo, Pescara, Italy
11U.O. Complessa di Allergologia e Immunologia Clinica, Fondazione IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore, Policlinico, Regina Elena, Milan, Italy
12Allergology, Ospedale Martini, ASL2, Turin, Italy
13Allergology, Ospedale Regionale, Aosta, Italy
14Pneumologia e Allergologia territoriale, ASL 2, Savona, Italy
15Allergology, ASL 4, Turin, Italy
16Ambulatorio di Allergologia, Az. Osp. Melegnano, Presidio Osp. Cernusco sul Naviglio, Milan, Italy
17Allergy/Pulmonary rehabilitation, ICP, Milan, Italy

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2010; Vol. 20(4): 274-279



Background: Quality of life (QOL) is an important issue in allergic rhinitis and has been evaluated in a number of studies that have shown how it is impaired in untreated patients and improved by effective treatment. However, there are no data concerning QOL after sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) in polysensitized patients.

Objective: To evaluate the effect, in real-life clinical practice, of SLIT on QOL in a population of polysensitized patients with allergic rhinitis.

Methods: We prospectively evaluated 167 consecutively enrolled polysensitized patients with allergic rhinitis. QOL was measured in all cases with the Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire at baseline and after 1 year of SLIT (performed in approximately 70% of cases using single allergen extracts provided by the same manufacturer).

Results: The most frequent causes of sensitization were grass pollen, Parietaria, and house dust mites. The mean number of sensitizations per patient was 3.65. SLIT was performed with 1 extract in 123 patients (73.6%), with 2 extracts in 31 patients (18.6%), and with more than 2 extracts in 13 patients (7.8%). The mean values of all the QOL items improved significantly (P<.01 in all cases), with the following reductions noted: activities, 3.96 to 2.89; sleep, 2.07 to 1.56; general problems, 2.16 to 1.5; practical problems, 3.69 to 2.58; nasal symptoms, 3.57 to 2.50; eye symptoms, 2.92 to 1.83; and emotional aspects, 2.2 to 1.44.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence that QOL can be improved in polysensitized patients treated with SLIT, and that the use of just 1 or 2 allergen extracts seems to be sufficient and effective in terms of improving QOL.

Key words: Allergic rhinitis. Polysensitization. Sublingual immunotherapy. Quality of life.