Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) was accepted for clinical use by the medical community only 15 years after the first controlled trial published. The acceptance of SLIT has been driven by the evidence base of a large number of clinical trials confirming the efficacy and a recent meta-analysis study. Although SLIT is self-managed by the patient, this does not generate problems with compliance. The safety profile, assessed in clinical trials and postmarketing surveillance studies, is satisfactory with no reports of systemic adverse reactions. New data are available on the persisting, long-lasting effect of SLIT and on the association with the prevention of asthma in paediatric patients. However, there is only indirect evidence for such persistence and duration of effect in adult patients. Key priorities for further investigation are the mechanisms of action, the efficacy in asthma, the cost/effectiveness and the identification of those patients who will achieve the maximum benefit with SLIT. © 2006 Blackwell Munksgaard.
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