Oral Allergy Treatment Seems Safe in Young Children

Further studies warranted as earlier allergy treatments are more effective

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Young children who receive allergy treatments by mouth appear to have the same incidence of adverse reactions as their older counterparts, according to a study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. None of the reactions were severe enough to stop treatment.

There is little agreement regarding the earliest age to begin sublingual-swallow immunotherapy (SLIT), so Alessandro Fiocchi, M.D., of the Fatebenefratelli/Melloni University Hospital in Milan, Italy, and colleagues performed a safety study in 65 children between the ages of 3 and 7 years.

SLIT involved administration of a single allergen under the tongue, which was swallowed after one minute. Allergen dose was gradually increased over 11 days followed by the maximum dose, three times per week, in the maintenance phase.

Five children under 5 years old, and six children over 5 years old developed mild to moderate reactions including urticaria, orolabial itch and gastrointestinal problems. There was no statistical difference between the two groups. The authors conclude that larger safety and efficacy studies should be conducted in children under 5 years as immunotherapy is more effective in younger patients.

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