Nearly 7 million children in the United States suffer with asthma. While allergies and asthma are two different conditions, allergies often trigger asthma. Allergy shots can be very helpful in managing asthma and allergies, but usually require a 3 to 5 year commitment.
Polish researchers now say long-term control of allergic asthma can occur after only three years of allergy shots, instead of the currently recommended five years.
Dr. Iwona Stelmach of the Medical University of Lodz in Poland and colleagues said immunotherapy, or allergy shots, can alter the progression of allergic disease. Treatment, Stelmach said, alleviates patients of symptoms, while preventing asthma and the development of other allergies.
"The recommended duration of immunotherapy for long-term effectiveness has been three to five years," Stelmach, the study's lead author, said in a statement. "Our research shows that three years is an adequate duration for the treatment of childhood asthma associated with house dust mites. An additional two years adds no clinical benefit."
Dr. James Sublett, an allergist who is chairman of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's Indoor Environment Committee, said not only does the shorter period of shots provide long-term therapeutic benefits for both children and adults, it can reduce total healthcare costs by 33 percent to 41 percent.
"It has long been observed that the effectiveness of allergy shots continue long after treatment has been completed," Sublett said. "
The Polish study was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Allergy-shots help build the immune system to fight specific allergens.
Some of the most common allergens are dust mites, pet dander, pollen, molds and cockroaches. Certain foods can also cause an allergic reaction as well as insect stings, medicines and chemicals.
The shots contain a purified form of the allergens t