Preventive Effect of Allergen Immunotherapy on Asthma and New Sensitizations

Josefine Gradman, Susanne Halken*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) is a disease-modifying treatment for some IgE-mediated allergic diseases with the potential to have important preventive effects. Children with allergic rhinitis have a high risk of developing asthma, and treating allergic rhinitis with AIT may interfere with disease progression and prevent onset of asthma. Although the evidence is limited due to relatively few and heterogeneous studies, data nevertheless suggest that AIT has a preventive effect on development of asthma especially in children with rhinitis due to grass pollen allergy. AIT may also affect the development of new sensitizations. Both the degree of sensitization and the specific sensitization pattern may influence future disease severity and development of comorbidities. Hitherto, the indication for AIT for prevention of development of asthma in grass/birch pollen allergic children has been the same as for treatment of allergic rhinitis. Probably, AIT should be applied in the early stage of the allergic disease to have the greatest preventive effect on disease progression. Consequently, in the future, the potential preventive effects should influence the timing of initiating AIT. The window of opportunity to prevent asthma may primarily exist in young children with mild symptoms and a low degree of sensitization.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1813-1817
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Allergen immunotherapy
  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Prevention
  • Sensitization


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