A 5-year venom immunotherapy protocol with 50μg maintenance dose: Safety and efficacy in school children

George N. Konstantinou, Emmanuel Manoussakis, Nikolaos Douladiris, Anastasios Hatziioannou, Stavroula Giavi, Photini Saxoni-Papageorgiou, Nikolaos G. Papadopoulos

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Venom immunotherapy (VIT) has been shown to be an effective and safe treatment for preventing sting-induced anaphylaxis in patients with systemic reactions to hymenoptera stings. A remaining problem is the relative effectiveness and safety of different immunotherapy protocols used with respect to maintenance dose, injection interval, and duration. Objective: We aimed to describe a modified cluster VIT protocol with a maintenance dose of 50μg lasting 5yr and to evaluate retrospectively its safety and efficacy in children. Patients and Methods: Fifty four children 9.5±3.2yr old with a history of at least one anaphylactic reaction to hymenoptera stings underwent VIT between 1995 and 2006. The identification of the offending insect(s) was based on patient's report and documented with in-vivo (SPTs and IDs) and in-vitro (RAST/CAP) test results. A modified cluster outpatient protocol lasting 5wks, reaching a maintenance dose of 50μg was followed according to clinical history and test results. After the maintenance dose was achieved, the followed injection-intervals were 4wks for the first year, 5wks for the 2nd year and 3rd year, and 6wks for the last 2yr. Results: Of the 54 children, 52 tolerated the 50μg VIT protocol without side effects. Twenty one of them reported at least one field sting from at least one of the culprit, for their allergy, insects, 6±3.5yr after they have started VIT treatment. In 11 of them, sting occurred 3.5±2.9yr after the VIT was completed, whereas the other 10 of them during immunotherapy, 3.2±1.4yr after they have started VIT. In the remaining two children, the maintenance dose was increased to 100μg due to systemic reactions from the VIT. The data reflect outcomes 6-16yr after the patients' initial allergic reaction. Conclusion: VIT with 50μg maintenance dose lasting 5yr appears to be safe and effective enough to induce tolerance in children with hymenoptera venom hypersensitivity. © 2011 John Wiley and Sons A/S.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)393-397
    Number of pages4
    JournalPediatric Allergy and Immunology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


    • Children
    • Common wasp
    • Honey bee
    • Maintenance dose
    • Venom hypersensitivity
    • Venom immunotherapy


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