Background: The practices and beliefs of the provider specialties that treat allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (ARC) with allergen immunotherapy (AIT) may vary. Methods: A telephone survey of 500 randomly selected health care practitioners in 7 specialties, conducted in 2012. Results: AIT was provided as a subcutaneous injection (SCIT) by 91% of allergist/immunologists, 54% of otolaryngologists, and 18% to 24% of other specialties. Otolaryngologists were the most frequent providers of sublingual drops of AIT (SLIT; 33%), compared to 2% to 10% of other specialties. AIT was recommended for adults with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis by 100% of allergist/immunologists vs 62% to 84% of the other specialties (p < 0.001). The primary reason for recommending AIT for adults (52%) or children (46%) was that other therapies did not work. Between 48% (nurse practitioners/physician assistants) and 93% (allergist/immunologists) of practitioners always or often decreased symptomatic medications over the course of AIT treatment. Most practitioners in all specialties (82-100%) thought that AIT was appropriate for patients with severe allergy symptoms. Significantly more allergist/immunologists and otolaryngologists than other specialists thought AIT was appropriate for mild allergy symptoms (p < 0.001 and p = 0.004, respectively, vs other specialties). Significantly more allergist/immunologists than other specialists thought that AIT was more effective than symptomatic medications (p < 0.001), could reduce the further development of allergies (p = 0.03), and could prevent the development of asthma. Conclusion: SCIT was more frequently provided than SLIT by all the specialties. Otolaryngologists were the most likely to offer SLIT, while very few allergist/immunologists offered SLIT. Allergist/immunologists differed from other specialties in some beliefs about the effectiveness of AIT.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy