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Grass pollen immunotherapy for 3 to 4 years was still effective 3 years after being discontinued

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 QUESTION: In patients with grass pollen allergy successfully treated with immunotherapy for 3 to 4 years, does discontinuing maintenance immunotherapy result in increased symptoms and use of rescue medication?


A 3 year randomised {allocation concealed*}, blinded (patients and investigators),* placebo controlled trial.


A hospital allergy clinic in London, United Kingdom.


32 patients (59% men) who had a history of severe seasonal allergic rhinitis, poor control of symptoms, and a positive skin prick test to timothy grass pollen extract and who had completed 3 years of maintenance therapy with grass pollen injections. Exclusion criteria were history of other allergies or medical illnesses and chronic asthma; patients with mild asthma were included if their symptoms were controlled by inhaled sympathomimetic β2 adrenergic agonist bronchodilators. 15 matched, but not randomised, patients with allergic rhinitis who had never received immunotherapy were …

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  • Sources of funding: Medical Research Council; National Asthma Campaign (UK); ALK Abelló.

  • For correspondence: Dr S R Durham, Department of Upper Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Doverhouse Street, London SW3 6LY, UK. Fax +44 171 351 8949.

  • * See glossary.

  • Information provided by author.