Items in AFP with MESH term: Desensitization, Immunologic
Stinging Insect Allergy - Article
ABSTRACT: Systemic allergic reactions to insect stings are estimated to occur in about 1 percent of children and 3 percent of adults. In children, these reactions usually are limited to cutaneous signs, with urticaria and angioedema; adults more commonly have airway obstruction or hypotension. Epinephrine is the treatment of choice for acute anaphylaxis, and self-injection devices should be prescribed to patients at risk for this allergic reaction. Stinging insect allergy can be confirmed by measurement of venom-specific IgE antibodies using venom skin tests or a radioallergosorbent test. Patients with previous large local reactions have a 5 to 10 percent risk of experiencing systemic reactions to future stings. Patients with previous systemic reactions have a variable risk of future reactions: the risk is as low as 10 to 15 percent in those with the mildest reactions and in some children, but as high as 70 percent in adults with the most severe recent reactions. Because of demonstrated efficacy (98 percent), venom immunotherapy is recommended for use in patients who are at risk for severe systemic reactions to future insect stings. Venom immunotherapy is administered every four to eight weeks for at least five years. Immunotherapy may be needed indefinitely in patients at higher risk for recurrence of anaphylaxis after treatment is stopped.
A Practical Guide to Anaphylaxis - Article
ABSTRACT: Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction with respiratory, cardiovascular, cutaneous, or gastrointestinal manifestations resulting from exposure to an offending agent, usually a food, insect sting, medication, or physical factor. It causes approximately 1,500 deaths in the United States annually. Occasionally, anaphylaxis can be confused with septic or other forms of shock, asthma, airway foreign body, panic attack, or other entities. Urinary and serum histamine levels and plasma tryptase levels drawn after onset of symptoms may assist in diagnosis. Prompt treatment of anaphylaxis is critical, with subcutaneous or intramuscular epinephrine and intravenous fluids remaining the mainstay of management. Adjunctive measures include airway protection, antihistamines, steroids, and beta agonists. Patients taking beta blockers may require additional measures. Patients should be observed for delayed or protracted anaphylaxis and instructed on how to initiate urgent treatment for future episodes.
Allergen Immunotherapy - Article
ABSTRACT: Allergen immunotherapy (also called allergy vaccine therapy) involves the administration of gradually increasing quantities of specific allergens to patients with IgE-mediated conditions until a dose is reached that is effective in reducing disease severity from natural exposure. The major objectives of allergen immunotherapy are to reduce responses to allergic triggers that precipitate symptoms in the short term and to decrease inflammatory response and prevent development of persistent disease in the long term. Allergen immunotherapy is safe and has been shown to be effective in the treatment of stinging-insect hypersensitivity, allergic rhinitis or conjunctivitis, and allergic asthma. Allergen immunotherapy is not effective in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, urticaria, or headaches and is potentially dangerous if used for food or antibiotic allergies. Safe administration of allergen immunotherapy requires the immediate availability of a health care professional capable of recognizing and treating anaphylaxis. An observation period of 20 to 30 minutes after injection is mandatory. Patients should not be taking beta-adrenergic blocking agents when receiving immunotherapy because these drugs may mask early signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and make the treatment of anaphylaxis more difficult. Unlike antiallergic medication, allergen immunotherapy has the potential of altering the allergic disease course after three to five years of therapy.