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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 9-18

Allergen immunotherapy: Basic concepts

1 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, King George’s Medical University UP, Lucknow, India
2 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi, India
4 Department of Pharmacology, GSVM Medical College, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
5 Department of Emergency Medicine, Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre Lake Area, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
6 Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Correspondence Address:
Surya Kant
Department of Pulmonary Medicine, King George's Medical University UP, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-6691.116606

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Allergen-specific immunotherapy is the therapeutic approach for allergic disorders with dysregulated immune responses, working through down-regulation of predominant T-cell and IgE mediated reactions by inducing immune tolerance by long-lived decrease in allergen-specific T-cell responsiveness through administration of allergen extracts in incremental doses. The potential candidates include mainly those with uncontrolled symptoms despite avoidance measures and medication use. Traditionally, immunotherapy is administered subcutaneously, although sublingual, mucosal, intranasal, intrabronchial, intralymphatic, and epicutaneous routes are also in existence. Currently, it has an established role in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, and insect sting hypersensitivity. Other disorders demonstrating significant improvement on immunotherapy include atopic dermatitis, food allergies, etc., Newer therapies, such as anti-IgE (omalizumab) used in combination with immunotherapy, have improved the safety and efficacy of immunotherapy. Future studies involving scientific research with the aim of improving patient outcome using safer forms of immunotherapy through recombinant technology, including allergens with reduced allergenicity and T-cell epitope based allergy vaccines without reducing immunogenicity, are in process.

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