A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial by the sublingual route of immunotherapy with a standardized grass pollen extract

Fifty-eight patients with well-documented history of seasonal rhinoconjunctivitis caused by grass pollens were allocated randomly on a double-blind basis to receive either sublingual therapy with a solution of purified, standardized allergen preparation (Stallergenes) or a matched placebo for 17 weeks.

 The assessment of the effect of oral immunotherapy, done with drops of five-grass allergen extract, was on the clinical symptoms and on the medication score of the authorized rescue treatments. The actively treated patients had significantly (P<0.05 to P<0.01) fewer symptoms of rhinitis (sneezing and rhinorrhea) and of conjunctivitis (redness and tears) during the pollen season than the placebo group.

 Consumption of nasal solution of sodium cromoglycate and of betamethasone and dexchlorpheniramine was significantly less in the desensitized group (P<0.01). Side-effects were negligible. This study concludes that perlingual immunotherapy with grass pollen extract in grass-pollen-sensitive seasonal hay fever and conjunctivitis patients is effective, easy to perform, inexpensive, and safe.