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Allergen immunotherapy, a series of allergen vaccine injections over a defined period, results in decreased sensitivity or tolerance to inhaled or injected allergens, which can be measured both clinically and immunologically. Vaccine is used to describe the immune-modifying properties of allergen immunotherapy. Such therapy is used to treat allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic asthma and stinging-insect hypersensitivity. During the first half of the 20th century, efficacy of allergen immunotherapy was based primarily on clinical observations. However, over the past 40 yr, scientific investigations of numerous allergens and of the complexities of the allergic reaction have revealed the immunological changes required for successful immunotherapy. This chapter reviews inhalant allergen immunotherapy utilized to treat allergic rhinitis and/or allergic asthma. Immunotherapy for stinging-insect hypersensitivity is covered in Chapter 6.
KeywordsAllergic Rhinitis Pollen Season House Dust Mite Birch Pollen Allergen Immunotherapy
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