Observational study of sublingual specific immunotherapy persistent and intermittent allergic rhinitis: The EFESO trial

Massimo Milani, Silvia Pecora, Samuele Burastero

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Background: Sublingual specific immunotherapy (SLIT) is a valid treatment for allergies. However, there are few data on a large sample size regarding its clinical role in 'real life'. Study aim: We performed a multicentre, case-control study to evaluate the effectiveness of SLIT in patients with allergic rhinitis (AR). Methods: A total of 305 patients with AR were enrolled. Cases (n = 154) were defined as patients with intermittent (64%) or persistent (36%) AR who were treated daily for at least two consecutive years with specific SLIT. Controls (n = 151) were defined as age-, sex- and type of allergen-matched AR subjects who were never treated with specific immunotherapy. The main outcomes of the study were the rhinoconjunctivitis symptom score (SS) and the symptomatic medication score (MS). SS and MS were evaluated at the end of the observational period in relation to the peak of relevant pollen season or during the period of maximum allergen exposure in case of non-seasonal allergens. Results. SS mean (SD) value was 5.1 (3.0) in cases and 9.3 (3.3) in controls (-43%) (p=0.0001). MS mean (SD) value was 2.6 (1.8) and 4.4 (2.6) in the case and control groups, respectively (-41 %) (p=0.0001). At the end of the observation period, asthma-related symptoms were present in 8.5% of cases and in 20% in the control group (p=0.01). Conclusion: The EFficacia nella rinitE allergica di SlitOne (EFESO) trial shows that SLIT treatment in AR is associated with lower SS and MS in comparison with controls. SLIT is also associated with a lower incidence of asthma and new sensitizations. As this was an observational study, our results need to be confirmed in randomized, double-blind, controlled trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2719-2724
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008


  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Asthma prevention
  • Case-control trial
  • Sublingual immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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