Subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy (AIT) effectively diminishes symptoms of allergic rhinitis, reduces the need for medication, and improves quality of life, according to a real-world analysis out of Portugal presented at the recent Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

“AIT is the only known long-term disease-modifying intervention for allergic rhinitis, yet real-world clinical outcomes data are still sparse,” wrote the study authors in their presentation poster. They were led by Pedro M. Silva, MD, of the Grupo HPA Saúde in Portimão and the University of Algarve in Faro.

The investigators conducted a real-world prospective cohort analysis that evaluated the effect of subcutaneous AIT in a population of 115 patients with allergic rhinitis who lived in South Portugal. For each of these patients, the investigators calculated a combined symptom and medication score (CSMS) before each monthly AIT administration. In addition, patients’ quality of life was assessed at baseline and again after each year of treatment, using the mini Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (miniRQLQ). They also assessed patients’ satisfaction with AIT using the ESPIA questionnaire.

Patients’ mean age was 27.9 years, and 55.7% were male. They all had allergic rhinitis and, in addition, 51.3% had conjunctivitis, 31.3% had asthma, and 13.9% had atopic dermatitis. The mean number of AIT administrations they received was 15.4, and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus extracts were present in 79.1% of the AIT formulations.

Significant improvement in CSMS from baseline was evident after 12 AIT administrations (P < .0001). This benefit was apparent regardless of patient sex, age group, or concomitant allergic disease. Benefits continued over time, with greater improvements in CSMS during the 6th to 18th administrations. At 12 months, 24% of patients were not taking any medication to treat their allergic rhinitis, and this proportion increased to 62% at 24 months and to 89% at 36 months. Both the miniRQLQ and ESPIA scores improved with each year of AIT, at P < .0001 for both.

“AIT demonstrated favourable real-world clinical outcomes, through significantly reduced CSMS, reduction of symptomatic medication intake, and significantly increased quality of life and patient satisfaction,” concluded the authors in their poster.

“These results were observed regardless of patient sex, age, and number of type of extracts present in AIT.”