• Allergen immunotherapy for insect venom allergy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

      Dhami, S.; Zaman, Hadar; Varga, E.M.; Sturm, G.J.; Muraro, A.; Akdis, C.A.; Antolın-Amerigo, D.; Bilo, M.B.; Bokanovic, D.; Calderon, M.A.; et al. (2017-02-17)
      Background The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is in the process of developing the EAACI Guidelines on Allergen Immunotherapy (AIT) for the management of insect venom allergy. To inform this process, we sought to assess the effectiveness, cost‐effectiveness and safety of AIT in the management of insect venom allergy. Methods We undertook a systematic review, which involved searching 15 international biomedical databases for published and unpublished evidence. Studies were independently screened and critically appraised using established instruments. Data were descriptively summarized and, where possible, meta‐analysed. Results Our searches identified a total of 16 950 potentially eligible studies; of which, 17 satisfied our inclusion criteria. The available evidence was limited both in volume and in quality, but suggested that venom immunotherapy (VIT) could substantially reduce the risk of subsequent severe systemic sting reactions (OR = 0.08, 95% CI 0.03–0.26); meta‐analysis showed that it also improved disease‐specific quality of life (risk difference = 1.41, 95% CI 1.04–1.79). Adverse effects were experienced in both the build‐up and maintenance phases, but most were mild with no fatalities being reported. The very limited evidence found on modelling cost‐effectiveness suggested that VIT was likely to be cost‐effective in those at high risk of repeated systemic sting reactions and/or impaired quality of life. Conclusions The limited available evidence suggested that VIT is effective in reducing severe subsequent systemic sting reactions and in improving disease‐specific quality of life. VIT proved to be safe and no fatalities were recorded in the studies included in this review. The cost‐effectiveness of VIT needs to be established.
    • EAACI guidelines on allergen immunotherapy: Hymenoptera venom allergy

      Sturm, G.J.; Varga, E.M.; Roberts, G.; Mosbech, H.; Bilo, M.B.; Akdis, C.A.; Antolın-Amerigo, D.; Cichocka-Jarosz, E.; Gawlik, R.; Jakob, T.; et al. (2018-04-16)
      Hymenoptera venom allergy is a potentially life‐threatening allergic reaction following a honeybee, vespid, or ant sting. Systemic‐allergic sting reactions have been reported in up to 7.5% of adults and up to 3.4% of children. They can be mild and restricted to the skin or moderate to severe with a risk of life‐threatening anaphylaxis. Patients should carry an emergency kit containing an adrenaline autoinjector, H1‐antihistamines, and corticosteroids depending on the severity of their previous sting reaction(s). The only treatment to prevent further systemic sting reactions is venom immunotherapy. This guideline has been prepared by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology's (EAACI) Taskforce on Venom Immunotherapy as part of the EAACI Guidelines on Allergen Immunotherapy initiative. The guideline aims to provide evidence‐based recommendations for the use of venom immunotherapy, has been informed by a formal systematic review and meta‐analysis and produced using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE II) approach. The process included representation from a range of stakeholders. Venom immunotherapy is indicated in venom‐allergic children and adults to prevent further moderate‐to‐severe systemic sting reactions. Venom immunotherapy is also recommended in adults with only generalized skin reactions as it results in significant improvements in quality of life compared to carrying an adrenaline autoinjector. This guideline aims to give practical advice on performing venom immunotherapy. Key sections cover general considerations before initiating venom immunotherapy, evidence‐based clinical recommendations, risk factors for adverse events and for relapse of systemic sting reaction, and a summary of gaps in the evidence.