Allergen immunotherapy practice patterns: a worldwide survey

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012 Jun;108(6):454-459.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2012.04.002. Epub 2012 Apr 27.


Background: Allergists around the world have different practice styles when administering subcutaneous aeroallergen immunotherapy (IT) in peak pollen seasons, especially when changing doses or frequency of IT. The Immunotherapy practice parameters do not specifically address this issue.

Objective: Given the paucity of good data about adjustment of allergen immunotherapy during the pollen seasons, we examined whether a significant difference is present in the way allergists administer immunotherapy during allergy seasons.

Methods: To quantify the practice styles of allergists who are members of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), a self-reported electronic survey was disseminated in September 2010 with the help of the AAAAI Needs Assessment Committee. The responses were tallied and analyzed according to demographic information.

Results: A total of 1,201 allergists in the AAAAI responded to the survey. Most responders practice in an urban or suburban nonacademic practice in the United States and have been in practice for more than 10 years. The size of their practice was variable. Those in practice for more than 10 years were more likely to adjust the dose and frequency of immunotherapy in pollen seasons.

Conclusion: This survey highlights the differences in the practice styles of AAAAI member allergists, and these differences may be associated with their demographic characteristics. Given the wide variability in how allergists adjust dose and frequency of immunotherapy during pollen seasons, establishing guidelines regarding this routine dilemma might help standardize the delivery of treatment to patients.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Canada
  • Data Collection
  • Desensitization, Immunologic / methods*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pollen / immunology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States


  • Allergens