Evidence-based practice (EBP) involves doctors using recent scientific advances to:
- choose the most effective treatment for their patients;
- use it with the patient’s best interests in mind.
In allergy, scientific advances are constantly evolving. It’s important for allergy specialists and patients to understand how EBP can benefit allergy immunotherapy. It’s central to shared decision making discussions you may have with your doctor.
In 1911, Leonard Noon published the first subcutaneous allergy immunotherapy (SCIT) study. It showed that shots of pollen extract improved symptoms of grass pollen allergy. At the time, there was no understanding of IgE antibodies or allergens. But in the past century, research has advanced our knowledge of AIT. This has made EBP in allergy a win-win for all involved.
In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a rule that all AIT products had to prove safety and effectiveness in Phase 3 clinical trials. Since allergy shots were already in use in the United States in 2002, FDA “grandfathered” them in so they could remain available on the market “as is.” FDA knew allergy shots would not meet the new stricter requirements. When allergists prescribe allergy shots, they rely on historical and experiential data. There are no Phase 3 trials for allergy shots to offer guidance on dosing and safety.
In 2006, the first study of sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) tablets was published in accordance with FDA’s new evidence-based standard. SLIT tablet products satisfied Phase 3 clinical trial criteria and arrived on the U.S. market in 2014. Most participants in the clinical trial had more than one allergy. This was important because trial results needed to reflect the U.S. allergy population, many of whom also have more than one allergy.
The key benefit of FDA-approved SLIT? Healthcare providers now have an AIT treatment option proven as safe and effective.
When it comes to your health, there is value in EBP. Understanding how EBP and AIT work can help you in shared decision making discussions with your doctor.
There is a growing momentum in the United States to focus on EBP. It keeps the best interests of patients top of mind and seeks the best possible outcome. There has never been a more opportune time for you to take charge of your allergy health. Get started by using the AIT Shared Decision Making Tool.