Sublingual drops as effective as injections for allergies, asthma

June 1, 2013

New research from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center suggests that both under-the-tongue drops and injections work well to alleviate the symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma in children.

New research from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center suggests that both under-the-tongue drops and injections work well to alleviate the symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma in children.

Investigators conducted a systematic review of 34 randomized, controlled clinical trials of children with asthma or rhinoconjunctivitis who were treated with either subcutaneous immunotherapy or an aqueous formulation of sublingual immunotherapy.

They first looked at 13 studies of 920 children that compared the effectiveness of allergy injections with standard allergy medication or placebo. Data showed that injections provided better symptom relief for asthma and allergic rhinitis than placebo or medication. Next, they analyzed 18 trials of 1,580 children who were treated with oral allergy drops, placebo, or medication for asthma and rhinitis or either condition alone. They found that oral drops were superior to placebo or medication in alleviating symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and rhinoconjunctivitis.

Researchers point out that sublingual immunotherapy is not yet approved for pediatric asthma and allergic rhinitis by the US Food and Drug Administration. The treatment is prescribed off-label in some clinical practices.

Kim JM, Lin SY, Suarez-Cuervo C, et al. Allergen-specific immunotherapy for pediatric asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis: a systematic review. Pediatrics. 2013:131(6):1-13.