The efficacy of allergen immunotherapy (AIT) is well supported by evidence from trials and meta-analyses. However, its actual performance in daily practice may be diminished by several pitfalls, including inappropriate patient selection, and, especially, the use of allergen extracts of insufficient quality. We performed a survey, the Allergen Immunotherapy Decision Analysis, to evaluate which criteria specialists use to choose products for sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) in adult patients suffering from allergic respiratory disease. We surveyed a total of 169 Italian allergists randomly chosen from a database belonging to a market research company (Lexis Ricerche, Milan, Italy). The survey was performed between October and November 2012 under the aegis of the European Center for Allergy Research Foundation and consisted of a questionnaire-based electronic survey prepared by a scientific board of 12 AIT experts. The questionnaire comprised two parts, the first of which contained 14 items to be ranked by each participant according to the importance assigned to each when choosing SLIT products. The physicians' rankings assigned major importance to the level of evidence-based validation of efficacy and safety, standardization of the product, efficacy based on personal experience, and defined content(s) of the major allergen(s) in micrograms. The results of this survey show that Italian allergists rank the quality-related characteristics of allergen extracts as highly important when choosing products for AIT. The allergists' preference for high-quality products should be addressed by regulatory agencies and by producers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine