PURPOSE: Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) has been used as a curative and specific treatment of allergic diseases. However, no data on the prescription patterns of AIT in Korea is available. Therefore, we surveyed the prescription patterns of AIT by allergy specialists in Korea.
METHODS: We emailed a questionnaire on AIT prescription patterns to the 690 members of the Korean Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Clinical Immunology with clinical practice experience. All returned answers were evaluated.
RESULTS: The response rate was 21.0%. Only 69.0% of the respondents performed AIT in practice. Hindrance factors for performing AIT in the practice included a lack of facilities (21%), lack of practical experience during their subspecialty or postgraduate educational training programs (15.8%), no need for AIT because of sufficient pharmacotherapy (14.5%), insufficient economic profits (14.5%), and risks for adverse reactions (13.2%). Ninety-two allergy specialists (82%) performed AIT subcutaneously subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) and 20 allergy specialists (18%) performed it sublingually sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). Only 8 specialists performed both SCIT and SLIT. The allergens used for SCIT were house dust mites (98.9%), pollens (72.8%), and animal dander (23.9%). SLIT was prescribed only for house dust mites. Twenty-eight physicians (30.4%) observed anaphylactic reactions during SCIT. Eight physicians (40.0%) who prescribed SLIT observed adverse reactions, including local reactions, but none of them observed anaphylactic reactions.
CONCLUSIONS: In this survey, 69.0% of the respondents performed AIT in clinical practice. SCIT prescription is more popular than SLIT. The Lack of facilities and clinical education is a critical barrier to performing AIT. Therefore, proper clinical education of AIT is necessary for Korean allergists.
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