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Contents »

Clinical aspects of hymenoptera venom allergy and venom immunotherapy


M.B. Bilò1 m.b.bilo@univpm.it, C. Tontini2, M. Martini3, A. Corsi3, S. Agolini3, L. Antonicelli2

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Doi
https://doi.org/10.23822/EurAnnACI.1764-1489.113

Abstract
Hymenoptera venom allergy (HVA) is the most frequent cause of anaphylaxis in Europe, accounting for most of the severe reactions occurring in adults, and being the second cause of anaphylaxis in children. Prevention of further episodes in patients who developed a systemic reaction (SR) is based on the correct management of the allergic emergency, the referral to an allergist for a correct diagnosis, prescription of adrenaline auto-injectors (AAI) and specific venom immunotherapy (VIT), if recommended. Diagnosis is based on the classification of the type of reaction, confirmation of an IgE-mediated pathogenesis and the identification of the offending insect. The use of component resolved diagnostics may be helpful in case of poly-sensitization or negative allergy tests with a proven history of previous SRs. When a severe SR occurs, baseline serum tryptase levels should always be assessed. The prescription of AAI is recommended or suggested for untreated patients, patients undergoing VIT and after discontinuation of treatment, according to multiple evidence. VIT is the most effective treatment available for HVA patients, as confirmed by recent European guidelines. VIT has an early, sustained and persistent protective effect and modifies the natural course of the disease. Moreover, VIT proved to be safe and well tolerated. According to a recent systematic review, no treatment-related fatalities were recorded to date. Compared to AAI, VIT significantly improves the quality of life of HVA patients by reducing the anxiety and limitations in daily activities caused by the fear of stinging insects. The memory of a life-threatening experience is the most likely reason why adherence to VIT is higher compared to immunotherapy with inhalant allergens. Several risk factors in HVA have been identified that can influence not only the severity of sting reactions in untreated patents, but also the occurrence of side effects, treatment effectiveness and the risk of relapse after discontinuation of VIT. Patient and treatment-related risk factors must be considered while selecting the best candidates for VIT, the type and duration of treatment. In this paper we address the most important issues related to HVA and VIT that may have an impact on daily clinical practice.

Key words
venom allergy; immunotherapy; anaphylaxis; adrenaline; diagnosis; treatment

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