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Ruëff, Franziska; Przybilla, Bernhard; Biló, Maria Beatrice; Müller, Ulrich; Scheipl, Fabian; Seitz, Michael J.; Aberer, Werner; Bodzenta-Lukaszyk, Anna; Bonifazi, Floriano; Campi, Paolo; Darsow, Ulf; Haeberli, Gabrielle; Hawranek, Thomas; Küchenhoff, Helmut; Lang, Roland; Quercia, Oliviero; Reider, Norbert; Schmid-Grendelmeier, Peter; Severino, Maurizio; Sturm, Gunter Johannes; Treudler, Regina; Wüthrich, Brunello (2013): Clinical effectiveness of hymenoptera venom immunotherapy. A prospective observational multicenter study of the European academy of allergology and clinical immunology interest group on insect venom hypersensitivity.
In: PloS one 8(5), e63233
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Abstract

Treatment failure during venom immunotherapy (VIT) may be associated with a variety of risk factors. Our aim was to evaluate the association of baseline serum tryptase concentration (BTC) and of other parameters with the frequency of VIT failure during the maintenance phase. In this observational prospective multicenter study, we followed 357 patients with established honey bee or vespid venom allergy after the maintenance dose of VIT had been reached. In all patients, VIT effectiveness was either verified by sting challenge (n = 154) or patient self-reporting of the outcome of a field sting (n = 203). Data were collected on BTC, age, gender, preventive use of anti-allergic drugs (oral antihistamines and/or corticosteroids) right after a field sting, venom dose, antihypertensive medication, type of venom, side effects during VIT, severity of index sting reaction preceding VIT, and duration of VIT. Relative rates were calculated with generalized additive models. 22 patients (6.2%) developed generalized symptoms during sting challenge or after a field sting. A strong association between the frequency of VIT failure and BTC could be excluded. Due to wide confidence bands, however, weaker effects (odds ratios <3) of BTC were still possible, and were also suggested by a selective analysis of patients who had a sting challenge. The most important factor associated with VIT failure was a honey bee venom allergy. Preventive use of anti-allergic drugs may be associated with a higher protection rate. It is unlikely that an elevated BTC has a strong negative effect on the rate of treatment failures. The magnitude of the latter, however, may depend on the method of effectiveness assessment. Failure rate is higher in patients suffering from bee venom allergy.