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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Antihistamine premedication in specific cluster immunotherapy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

BACKGROUND: Specific immunotherapy treatment in allergic diseases involves a risk of systemic side effects. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed in 45 patients allergic to pollen to determine whether pretreatment with loratadine could reduce the number and severity of systemic reactions during the dose-increase phase of cluster immunotherapy. METHODS: The patients received cluster immunotherapy with a standardized birch (Betula verrucosa) or grass (Phleum pratense) pollen extract adsorbed to aluminum hydroxide. The immunotherapy schedule involved seven visits and 14 injections to reach a maintenance dose of 100,000 standardized quality units. Loratadine, 10 mg, or placebo tablets were administered 2 hours before the first injection at each visit. RESULTS: A total of 720 injections were given (309 injections in 21 patients receiving loratadine and 411 injections in 24 patients receiving placebo). The median numbers of injections to reach maintenance dose were 15 (range, 14 to 18) in the loratadine group and 16 (range, 14 to 23) in the placebo group (p = 0.037). The numbers of patients with systemic reactions were seven (33%) and 19 (79%) in the loratadine and placebo groups, respectively (p = 0.002). Twenty-five reductions caused by systemic reactions were observed in the placebo group in contrast to nine in the loratadine group (p = 0.047). No life-threatening systemic reactions were observed in either group. Systemic reactions were, however, more severe in the placebo group, mainly because of a significantly higher incidence of urticaria (10 vs 1, p = 0.022). CONCLUSION: Pretreatment with loratadine seems to reduce both the number and severity of systemic reactions in specific cluster immunotherapy.[1]


  1. Antihistamine premedication in specific cluster immunotherapy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nielsen, L., Johnsen, C.R., Mosbech, H., Poulsen, L.K., Malling, H.J. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. (1996) [Pubmed]
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