Systemic Reactions to Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT): Effects of Dosing and Aeroallergen Content

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Systemic reactions are a known risk of subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) for aeroallergens.


To identify the dose of SCIT that results in the most systemic reactions to SCIT (SCITSRs) and other risk factors for SCITSRs.


We performed a retrospective review of all SCIT encounters from 2013 to 2017 at a multisite allergy/immunology practice. SCITSRs were identified from the electronic health record through immunotherapy encounters in which epinephrine was administered. Collected data included patient demographics, the dose of immunotherapy at the time of the SCITSR, the presence or absence of asthma, and aeroallergen content. The control group was generated randomly from the same cohort during the same period.


There were 86,949 SCIT visits, with 81 SCITSRs (0.9 per 1000 injections). A total of 77.8% of reactions occurred at a dose of 1:1 0.1 mL and above. The presence of cat (81.5% vs 63.0%, P = .01), dog (67.9% vs 37.0%, P < .001), and grass extracts (85.2% vs 67.5%, P = .01) were associated with SCITSRs. Asthma was not significantly associated with SCITSRs. The presence of dust mites, trees, weeds, and molds was not associated with SCITSRs. There were no months or seasons where SCITSRs were more likely to occur. Individuals who experienced SCITSRs had a mean (SD) higher number of included aeroallergenic groups compared with controls (5.86 [1.88] vs 5.00 [1.92], P < .001).


Risk factors for SCITSRs in a multisite allergy/immunology practice included administration of the highest immunotherapy doses; inclusion of cat, dog, and grass extracts; and the number of aeroallergenic groups included in the extract. This information helps further characterize risk for patients receiving SCIT.


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