The results of our third trial on epicutaneous allergen-specific immunotherapy (EPIT) will be presented and discussed in the context of our previous trials. This monocentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind phase I/IIa trial included 98 patients with grass pollen rhinoconjunctivitis. Prior to the pollen season 2009, patients received six patches (allergen extract: n = 48; placebo: n = 50) with weekly intervals, administered onto tape-stripped skin. Allergen EPIT produced a median symptom improvement of 48% in 2009 and 40% in the treatment-free follow-up year 2010 as compared to 10% and 15% improvement after placebo EPIT (P = 0.003). After allergen EPIT but not placebo EPIT, conjunctival allergen reactivity was significantly decreased and allergen-specific IgG4 responses were significantly elevated (P < 0.001). In conclusion, our three EPIT trials found that allergen EPIT can ameliorate hay fever symptoms. Overall, treatment efficacy appears to be determined by the allergen dose. Local side-effects are determined by the duration of patch administration, while risk of systemic allergic side-effects is related to the degree of stratum corneum disruption.
Keywords: allergen-specific antibodies; allergic rhinoconjunctivitis; epicutaneous allergen-specific immunotherapy; needle-free immunisation; patch immunisation.
© 2015 The Authors Allergy Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.