Pollen jab prevents hay fever

Injecting pollen into lymph nodes provides long-term protection against hay fever within two months, research suggests.

Allergen-specific immunotherapy, in which an allergen is injected subcutaneously, is known to be an effective treatment against hay fever. But it is rarely used because it carries risks of allergic side-effects and requires up to 70 doctor visits over three to five years.

Swiss researchers injected 165 hay fever patients with pollen extract, giving either three injections into lymph nodes over two months or the standard 54 subcutaneous injections over three years.

Intralymphatic treatment quickly led to long-lasting tolerance to nasal provocation with pollen, equivalent to subcutaneous treatment.

After four months, patients who received injections into the lymph nodes required 10 times as much pollen to trigger nasal symptoms.

Patients injected subcutaneously did not start to show an increase in allergen tolerance until after a year of treatment.

In addition, in the first pollen season after treatment, 43 per cent of patients who received intralymphatic injections used antihistamine tablets, compared with 66 per cent of patients injected subcutaneously.

Injection into the lymph nodes was associated with fewer and less severe side-effects and was less painful.

Patients assigned to intralymphatic injection were also more likely to complete treatment. Only 32 of 54 patients assigned to standard subcutaneous injections completed the treatment, compared with all 58 assigned to intralymphatic injection.

'Intralymphatic immunotherapy allowed a marked reduction of both number and dose of allergen injections necessary to induce allergen tolerance, making the treatment shorter and safer,' the researchers say.

'The practically painless procedure also enhanced patient compliance, thus making intralymphatic immunotherapy an interesting alternative to conventional subcutaneous treatment.'

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

  • PNAS 2008; 105: 17,908-12

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GP consulting room

Nine in ten GPs fear their practice will struggle to cope this winter

Nearly nine in ten GPs fear that their practice will struggle to cope this winter,...

BMA sign

BMA elects new deputy chair of England GP committee and chair of Scottish council

Dr David Wrigley has been elected as new deputy chair of the BMA's GP committee in...

UK money

Almost half of practices say income from private fees has fallen in past year

Almost half of GP practices have seen their income from private and professional...

COVID-19 vaccination centre

BMA raises 'serious concerns' about GP workload and funding for autumn COVID boosters

The BMA has raised 'serious concerns' about the workload implications of this autumn's...

Vaccines

Monkeypox jabs will run out by next week, UKHSA says

The UK is likely to run out of smallpox vaccine stocks which it is using to protect...

NHS sign outside a building

Two Midlands hospitals end partnerships with Babylon

Two NHS trusts have prematurely severed their relationships with digital health provider,...