Renata had never been looking forward to spring. She used to meet blooming trees in tears because sensitivity to birch and alder pollen used to bring her eye itch, tearfulness and rhinitis. It stopped as soon as the lady tried allergen-specific immunotherapy.
Spring time rhinitis was not the only problem of Renata; she was allergic to particular foodstuffs as well. She could not eat apples, pears, apricots or peaches even after the blooming period. The first bite of the fruits used to bring mouth itch and lip and tongue swelling. Peaches and apricots used to cause the strongest reaction. Finally, Renata received allergen-specific immunotherapy. The treatment lasted three years but in year two the lady noticed she could eat apples and pears.
“Some time later she could eat peaches and apricots as well without any allergic reaction. Moreover, allergic rhinitis disappeared and the patient did not need any other medication,” told allergologist and specialist of clinical immunology Audra Blažienė, ASP, MD about successfully defeated allergic rhinitis of Renata.
Head of the Pulmonology and Allergology Centre of Medical Diagnostics and Treatment Centre memorized another patient. Algimantas of venerable age had been allergic to home dust mite. The man tried allergen-specific immunotherapy long time ago and was satisfied with it because he had no signs of allergy twenty years after the treatment course. Algimantas knew what to do when allergic rhinitis reoccurred. Repeated course of the treatment made the symptoms disappear gradually. Today he is free from rhinitis and medication again.
Infant Matas used to be bothered by a strong allergic reaction. The child used to get almost blind from the first days of tree blooming season: his eyelids and conjunctiva used to swell and end with heavy inflammation.
Heavy rhinitis used to bother him as well. The symptoms were growing milder and milder as soon as allergen-specific immunotherapy was administered until, finally, they disappeared and the child was healthy.
- People affected by allergic rhinitis spend hundreds Euro at the drugstores. How is allergen-specific immunotherapy more effective than regular anti-allergy drugs?
- Allergen-specific immunotherapy is the only method able to make people healthy again. It changes the immunity response to allergens and the body begins to react to allergens the same way as in healthy people. If the patient is on drugs for allergic rhinitis, he/she can never recover because the drugs relieve symptoms of the disease rather than change reaction of the body.
- Is allergen-specific immunotherapy effective for all and any patient?
- About 80 percent of patients can withdraw anti-allergic drugs afterwards. The symptoms of allergic rhinitis, if any, become much less bothering. Treatment success is affected by many factors such as immune system characteristics, the type and amount of allergens causing sensitivity and inveteracy of the disease.
- Why should allergic rhinitis be treated as early as possible?
- Because amount of the allergens causing reaction may increase in the course of time. Usually a person becomes allergic to a single group of allergens, for example, tree pollen. Later, sensitivity to meadow grass, home dust mites and other allergens develops. If the treatment is started at the very beginning of the disease, body sensitization to other allergens can be prevented. The treatment is also required to prevent aggravation of the disease. The widely known fact is that if you have atopic dermatitis in early years, it can be soon followed by allergic rhinitis that finally ends with bronchial asthma. If allergen-specific immunotherapy is offered at the period of allergic rhinitis, development of bronchial asthma can be prevented.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy is available for children over 6 years of age and adults.
- Have you got many patients, who undergo such therapy?
- Alas, very little so far. Perhaps people are daunted by a long treatment course. However, the message is false. There are different kinds of allergen-specific therapy preparations. Some require to be used 3-5 years in a row (first, weekly and then monthly injections). The other course is much shorter: 6 injections every week or two 3 years in a row are enough. The method can only be used before the beginning of the pollen season.
Doctor allergologist can advise on the time and type of treatment. The problem is that allergen-specific immunotherapy is not compensable and the patients may be daunted by prices. However, if you calculate the costs of treatment to relieve symptoms rather than make allergy disappear, it appears that the costs are much higher than the price of immunotherapy.
18 January 2014
Medical Diagnostics and Treatment Centre
V. Grybo 32A, Vilnius
Registration and information:
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