Sublingual desensitization: a new approach to latex allergy problem

Anesth Analg. 2002 Oct;95(4):956-60, table of contents. doi: 10.1097/00000539-200210000-00031.


The prevalence of latex allergy has rapidly increased. Clinical manifestations range from contact urticaria-angioedema and rhinoconjunctivitis to more severe bronchial asthma and anaphylactic shock. The only effective therapy is desensitization. We studied 24 patients allergic to latex: 12 of them underwent a rush (4-day) sublingual desensitization to latex, performed by putting increasing doses of latex extract under the patients' tongues for 3 min every 20 min, followed by a maintenance therapy. The other 12 patients were considered controls. The sublingual rush desensitization protocol was successfully completed in all patients with no side effects. After 3 mo, all patients underwent an allergological evaluation, which showed a significant improvement of symptoms scores after challenges in the treated group as compared with the controls. All the desensitized patients can now wear latex gloves and undergo medical procedures without any symptoms.

Implications: We present 12 cases of latex allergy in patients who underwent desensitization by a sublingual exposure protocol. This study provides evidence that a safe therapeutic approach to latex allergy is possible.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Sublingual
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Desensitization, Immunologic*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / diagnosis
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin E / biosynthesis
  • Latex Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Latex Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane / pathology
  • Pruritus
  • Skin Tests


  • Immunoglobulin E