Natural rubber latex allergy is still an unsolved health problem. In addition to the recommended avoidance to the allergen, therapeutic measures are needed and therefore so are immunotherapy extracts with proven efficacy and safety. Gabriel Gastaminza, of the Department of Allergology at Hospital Santiago-Apostol in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, and colleagues, conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the efficacy and tolerability of latex sublingual immunotherapy in adult patients undergoing permanent latex avoidance.
Twenty-eight adult latex-allergic patients (five males and 23 females), with an average age of 39 years (range 24-57) were randomized to receive a commercial latex-sublingual immunotherapy or placebo during one year, followed by another year of open, active therapy. The following outcomes were measured at baseline and at the end of first and second year of follow-up: skin prick test, gloves-use score, conjunctival challenge test, total and specific IgE, basophil activation test, and adverse reactions monitoring.
No significant difference in any of the efficacy in vivo variables was observed between active and placebo groups at the end of the placebo-controlled phase, nor when each group was compared with their baseline values at the end of the two-year study. An improvement in the average percentage of basophils activated was observed. During the induction phase, four reactions in the active and five in the placebo group were recorded. During the maintenance phase, two patients dropped out due to pruritus and to acute dermatitis respectively.
The researchers say that further studies are needed to evaluate latex-sublingual immunotherapy, since efficacy could not be demonstrated in adult patients with avoidance of the allergen.
Reference: Gabriel Gastaminza , Jaime Algorta , Olga Uriel , Maria T. Audicana , Eduardo Fernandez , Maria L. Sanz and Daniel Munoz. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controled clinical trial of sublingual immunotherapy in natural rubber latex allergic patients. Trials. August 2011.