GIM’s Associate Professor Jodi Segal, MD, MPH, is the senior author of a systematic review that was published in the March 27th edition of JAMA. The article titled “Sublingual Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis and Asthma: A Systematic Review” updates earlier research and contributes further meta-analyses of evidence aiming to establish the utility and safety of sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) in treating both allergy and asthma. SLIT is not yet an FDA-approved method of administering allergen therapy in the US, but is increasingly used in Europe.
The article was the subject of an editorial in the same issue of JAMA, and its conclusions have been reported in various other news outlets, including the following:
USA Today’s Cathy Payne reports, "Under-the-tongue drops instead of allergy shots may be a good option for some patients who suffer from allergies and allergic asthma, according to a new analysis" published online March 27 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore looked at studies in which researchers put small amounts of an inhaled allergen, such as mold and pollen, in liquid drops under the tongue. The review found that such drop therapy is a safe and effective alternative to a weekly allergy shot for boosting immunity."
The Baltimore Sun’s Scott Dance writes in his "Picture of Health" blog that the analysis "summarizes 63 studies and makes a case for what is known as sublingual immunotherapy [SLIT]. The treatment is popular in Europe but is less common in the US. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any applications from drug makers to use the treatment here."
Medscape reporter Troy Brown writes, "The investigators found that the evidence was strong in support of the use of sublingual immunotherapy for the control of asthma symptoms; eight of 13 studies reported greater than 40% improvement vs the comparator." However, "the evidence was moderate in support of the use of sublingual immunotherapy for the control of rhinitis or rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms; 9 of 36 studies reported greater than 40% improvement vs the comparator." Finally, "the evidence was moderate in support of the use of sublingual immunotherapy for decreasing medication use, with a greater than 40% decrease in medication use in 16 of 41 studies."
MedPage Today's Kristina Fiore reports that an accompanying editorial noted that "many unanswered questions remain about the use of sublingual immunotherapy." MedPage Today also notes, "The study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality."