OBJECTIVES: To determine whether subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) or sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) better improves patient outcomes and quality of life for adults with allergic rhinitis or rhinoconjunctivitis (AR/C) with or without mild to moderate asthma.
METHODS: Systematic review methodology was based on the Cochrane Collaboration handbook and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses. Four databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and Web of Science) were queried from inception to July 30, 2020. Two independent reviewers screened potentially relevant studies and assessed risk of bias. Outcomes of interest were symptom score (SS), medication score (MS), combined symptom medication score (CSMS), and Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ). Meta-analyses with an adjusted indirect comparison were conducted in RevMan 5.4.1.
RESULTS: Seven SCIT versus SLIT randomized controlled trials (RCTs) demonstrated no significant differences for any outcomes, but insufficient data precluded direct meta-analysis. For the adjusted indirect comparison, 46 RCTs over 39 studies were included for SCIT versus placebo (n = 13) and SLIT versus placebo (n = 33). Statistically significant results favoring SCIT were found for SS (standardized mean difference [SMD] = 0.40; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.31-0.49), MS (SMD = 0.26; 95% CI = 0.14-0.39), CSMS (SMD = 0.42; 95% CI = 0.17-0.67), and RQLQ (MD = 0.24; 95% CI = 0.04-0.44). Statistically significant results favoring SLIT were found for SS (SMD = 0.42; 95% CI = 0.32-0.53), MS (SMD = 0.40; 95% CI = 0.28-0.53), CSMS (SMD = 0.37; 95% CI = 0.29-0.45), and RQLQ (MD = 0.32; 95% CI = 0.20-0.43). No significant differences were found between SCIT and SLIT for SS (SMD = -0.02; 95% CI = -0.15 to 0.11), MS (SMD = -0.14; 95% CI = -0.31 to 0.03), CSMS (SMD = 0.05; 95% CI = -0.21 to 0.31), or RQLQ (MD = -0.08; 95% CI = -0.31 to 0.15).
CONCLUSION: SCIT and SLIT are comparably effective treatments for adults with AR/C. More RCTs analyzing SCIT versus SLIT are needed to directly compare the two. Laryngoscope, 2021.
Tie K, et al. Subcutaneous Versus Sublingual Immunotherapy for Adults with Allergic Rhinitis: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analyses. Laryngoscope. 2021 Apr 30. doi: 10.1002/lary. 29586. Online ahead of print.