The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation published a new clinical practice guideline on the management of inhalant allergies with immunotherapy.

The guideline, published in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, identifies quality improvement opportunities and provides clinicians with evidence-based recommendations, supporting them to provide enhanced care to patients aged 5 years and older who are experiencing symptoms from inhalant allergies.

“More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies annually. Despite the widespread use of allergen immunotherapy, there are multiple clinical dilemmas that exist, including patient selection, modes of immunotherapy delivery, and ongoing needs to evaluate and ensure the safety and efficacy of AIT,” says Richard K. Gurgel, MD, MSCI, chair of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation guideline development group, in a release.

Allergen immunotherapy is used to reduce allergy symptoms and improve quality of life. This is done by giving regular and repeated doses of an allergen or allergens. Examples of allergens that can be inhaled include pet dander, pollen, ragweed, grass, and dust mites. By taking gradually increasing doses, the immune system builds up a tolerance and becomes less sensitive. 

Unlike other treatments, allergen immunotherapy can lead to lasting benefits even after stopping. This can reduce the need to take other medications, which provides cost savings and convenience. Additionally, there is evidence that allergen immunotherapy can reduce asthma symptoms and prevent asthma and new allergies from developing.

As patients, families, and caregivers consider immunotherapy as a treatment option, this guideline assists clinicians with an evidence-based framework for assessing patients’ care needs to provide immunotherapy as a treatment option if needed. The guideline provides 12 evidence-based key action statements to guide clinicians in treating patients experiencing symptoms from inhalant allergies. 

“We hope this [clinical practice guideline] will be a valuable resource to optimize patient care and reduce unnecessary and costly variation in [allergen immunotherapy] management,” says Gurgel in a release.

The guideline development group consisted of 17 panel members representing experts in otolaryngology and allergy or members who have expertise in clinical practice guideline development and a consumer/patient representative. Panel members came from a variety of practice settings, training backgrounds, and stages of training.

The full key action statements and the guideline with other supplemental materials can be found here.

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