Background: Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) has been demonstrated to be a viable alternative to injection immunotherapy. Administration of high doses of allergens to ensure efficacy has been shown to be well tolerated. The aim of the present study was the first step to address the issue of fast-induction regimens using various induction SLIT regimens in paediatric and adult patients. Methods: Sixty-four patients (age range 5–46 years) with grass pollen rhinoconjunctivitis were enrolled in an 8-month double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of SLIT. Sixty-three patients were randomized to four groups and evaluated at the end of the study. One group received placebo (n = 16) and the other three groups (n = 47) received five grass pollen extracts according to three different induction regimens: regimen 1 starting with 3 IR tablets (n = 15), regimen 2 starting with 10 IR (n = 16) and regimen 3 starting with 30 IR (n = 16). The maintenance phase was made with sublingual-swallow drops at the same concentration of 300 IR/ml for all the patients. Adverse events were recorded on diary cards. Results: During induction phase, 25/47 patients in the SLIT groups had adverse reactions in comparison to 2/16 patients in the placebo group (p < 0.05). The rate of adverse reactions was 33.3% (11.8–61.6) (95% CI) for regimen 1, 31.3% (11.0–58.7) for regimen 2, 43.8% (19.8–70.1) for regimen 3 and 12.5% (1.6–38.3) for placebo. Fifty-seven reactions were local reactions involving the oral region (54 SLIT, 3 placebo) and 13 were systemic reactions (all in the SLIT groups). 11/13 reactions were mild (gastrointestinal disorders, rhinoconjunctivitis), 1/13 consisted of moderate asthma and 1/13 consisted of severe abdominal pain. No urticaria, angioedema or life-threatening events were observed. Conclusions: These preliminary data showed that various induction regimens for SLIT are generally well tolerated and could allow a fast build-up phase of SLIT.
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