Allergen immunotherapy was introduced by Leonard Noon 100 years ago and is the only disease-modifying treatment for allergic individuals (Allergy, 2012).
This JACI review discusses health economics of allergen-specific immunotherapy (SCIT) in the U.S.
19 published studies report that allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) may decrease health care costs. The studies were conducted outside and within the U.S.
The magnitude of these savings has varied, with up to an 80% reduction in costs seen 3 years after completion of treatment.
As more sophisticated and higher cost drugs, biologics, and medical devices proliferate, it becomes tempting to assume their superiority over traditional treatment such as SIT. However, this is not the case. For example, SCIT is as effective as intranasal steroids for allergic rhinitis, and has the potential to change the long-term course of the disease.
Currently, SIT is used by only a minority (2% to 6%) of appropriate U.S. patient candidates.
As of this centennial year for allergen immunotherapy, health economic attributes of SCIT remain largely unexplored in the U.S. As the only disease-modifying treatment available to patients with allergies, this standard of care must be benchmarked.
Mechanisms of allergen-specific immunotherapy (click to enlarge the image).
Health economics of allergen-specific immunotherapy in the United States. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Volume 127, Issue 1 , Pages 39-43, January 2011.
Image source: OpenClipArt.org, public domain.