Is Allergen Immunotherapy in Children Disease Modifying? A Review of the Evidence

  • Amanda K. Rudman SpergelEmail author
  • Michael Minnicozzi
  • Lisa M. Wheatley
  • Alkis Togias
Immunotherapy and Immunomodulators (B Vickery, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Immunotherapy and Immunomodulators


Purpose of Review

Although evidence supports a beneficial effect of allergen immunotherapy on the symptoms of allergic respiratory disease and food allergy, it is not clear whether immunotherapy modifies the natural history of these conditions.

Recent Findings

In aeroallergen immunotherapy, studies suggest that prevention of asthma can be attained. Less evident is the ability of immunotherapy to prevent new allergen sensitizations and more studies are needed to test whether immunotherapy can continue suppressing airway symptoms after treatment discontinuation. In food allergen immunotherapy, there is evidence that unresponsiveness to a food challenge can be sustained in some treatment recipients, but little knowledge exists as to the dose and duration of treatment that can optimize this effect.


Suggestive evidence exists that allergen immunotherapy can modify allergic disease in children, but definitive studies are lacking. More research in the field is required.


Aeroallergen immunotherapy Food allergen immunotherapy Desensitization Sustained unresponsiveness Asthma prevention 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Togias is Chief of the NIAID/DAIT Branch that has funded several of the studies cited in this review. The other authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda K. Rudman Spergel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Minnicozzi
    • 1
  • Lisa M. Wheatley
    • 1
  • Alkis Togias
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation, Allergy, Asthma and Airway Biology BranchNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIHRockvilleUSA

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