Since barrier protection measures to avoid contact with allergens are being increasingly developed, we assessed the clinical efficacy and tolerability of a topical nasal microemulsion made of glycerol esters in patients with allergic rhinitis.
Randomized, controlled, double-blind, parallel group, multicentre, multinational clinical trial in which adult patients with allergic rhinitis or rhinoconjunctivitis due to sensitization to birch, grass or olive tree pollens received treatment with topical microemulsion or placebo during the pollen seasons. Efficacy variables included scores in the mini-RQLQ questionnaire, number and severity of nasal, ocular and lung signs and symptoms, need for symptomatic medications and patients’ satisfaction with treatment. Adverse events were also recorded.
Demographic characteristics were homogeneous between groups and mini-RQLQ scores did not differ significantly at baseline (visit 1). From symptoms recorded in the diary cards, the ME group showed statistically significant better scores for nasal congestion (0.72 vs. 1.01; p = 0.017) and mean total nasal symptoms (0.7 vs. 0.9; p = 0.045). At visit 2 (pollen season), lower values were observed in the mini-RQLQ in the ME group, although there were no statistically significant differences between groups in both full analysis set (FAS) and patients completing treatment (PPS) populations. The results obtained in the nasal symptoms domain of the mini-RQLQ at visit 2 showed the highest difference (−0.43; 95% CI: -0.88 to 0.02) for the ME group in the FAS population. The topical microemulsion was safe and well tolerated and no major discomforts were observed. Satisfaction rating with the treatment was similar between the groups.
The topical application of the microemulsion is a feasible and safe therapy in the prevention of allergic symptoms, particularly nasal congestion.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01478425
Allergic rhinitis; Rhinoconjunctivitis; Allergen avoidance; Barrier measures; Corticosteroids use; Nasal symptoms; Natural pollen exposure; Quality of life; Efficacy; Safety
There is a lack of objective measures of the clinical efficacy of allergen immunotherapy which relies on patients’ perception about the effect of this treatment. We studied whether the fraction of exhaled nitric oxide is affected by multiple allergen immunotherapy in polysensitized adult subjects with allergic rhinitis. We also looked for associations between exhaled nitric oxide and subjects’ demographics, symptom scores, and pulmonary function tests.
Twenty adult, polysensitized subjects with seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis who chose to undergo allergen immunotherapy were enrolled. They were evaluated at baseline, and 4, 8, 12, 24, and 52 weeks later. Exhaled nitric oxide was reported as the mean of triplicate determinations.
Our results indicate that multiple allergen immunotherapy did not affect exhaled nitric oxide levels and such levels did not correlate with subjects’ demographics and pulmonary function tests. However, exhaled nitric oxide was associated with rhinoconjuctivitis and asthma symptom scores at the end of the study.
In polysensitized adult subjects with allergic rhinitis, exhaled nitric oxide levels are unaffected by multiple allergen immunotherapy.
Allergen immunotherapy; Nitric oxide; Allergic rhinitis
Systemic corticosteroids play an integral role in the management of many inflammatory and immunologic conditions, but these agents are also associated with serious risks. Osteoporosis, adrenal suppression, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, Cushing’s syndrome, psychiatric disturbances and immunosuppression are among the more serious side effects noted with systemic corticosteroid therapy, particularly when used at high doses for prolonged periods. This comprehensive article reviews these adverse events and provides practical recommendations for their prevention and management based on both current literature and the clinical experience of the authors.
Adverse events; Adrenal suppression; Corticosteroids; Cushing’s syndrome; Hyperglycemia; Glaucoma; Glucocorticoids; Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis; Side effects; Systemic
Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare, debilitating, and potentially life-threatening disease characterized by recurrent edema attacks. Important advances in HAE treatment have been made, including the development of new therapies for treating or preventing attacks. Nevertheless, the disease is still frequently misdiagnosed and inappropriately treated, potentially exposing patients with laryngeal attacks to the risk of asphyxiation.
The Icatibant Outcome Survey (IOS) is an international, observational study that documents the clinical outcome of HAE patients eligible for treatment with icatibant. Patient ages at first symptoms and at diagnosis were recorded at enrolment, and the delay between first symptoms and diagnosis was calculated.
The median [range] diagnostic delay in HAE type I and II patients across eight countries was 8.5 years [0–62.0]. The median delay in diagnosis was longer for HAE type II versus type I (21 versus 8 years, respectively), although this did not quite reach statistical significance.
Although it can be difficult to differentiate HAE symptoms from those of more common angioedema sub-types (e.g. idiopathic or acquired angioedema), our results show that HAE type I and II patients have an unacceptable delay in diagnosis, even those with a family history of the disease. Raising physician awareness of this disabling and potentially fatal disease may lead to a more accurate diagnosis and timely treatment.
Bradykinin; C1-inhibitor; Diagnosis; Hereditary angioedema; Icatibant
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a condition frequently encountered in medical practices across the country. Arming ourselves with appropriate and safe treatment modalities to provide relief for this chronic and relapsing inflammatory condition is of utmost importance to our patients and their families. Utilizing topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) for the treatment of AD not responsive to high-potency corticosteroids, or low-potency corticosteroids and localized to the face, eyelids, and skin folds of patients >2 years, is reasonable to include in common practice. Despite the FDA’s Black Box warning, to date no evidence has been published linking the TCIs to an increased incidence of malignancy in either children or adults that establishes causation. The Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) therefore recognizes that the benefits of TCIs should be carefully weighed with the theoretical risks in advising patients, and acknowledges that long-term studies remain in progress. The safety and efficacy of topical tacrolimus and pimecrolimus should therefore be considered when treating children and adults with AD in Canadian allergy and immunology practices.
Atopic dermatitis; Topical corticosteroids; Therapy; Tacrolimus; Pimecrolimus; Lymphoma; Drug safety
The first documented confirmed case of an imported fire ant causing anaphylaxis in Canada is herein reported. In a patient with anaphylaxis to ants a physician in Canada should be aware that an allergic reaction to fire ant is a possibility.
A T helper cell (TH) 17-biased response has been observed in patients with allergic asthma, particularly in those with neutrophil accumulation in the lung. Therefore, we sought to test the hypothesis that neutrophils might be an important source of interleukin (IL)-17 in allergic asthma.
Whole peripheral blood cells from non-asthmatic control subjects (n = 17) and patients with mild asthma (n = 7), moderate but persistent asthma (n = 4), or acute asthma (n = 6) were analyzed for IL-17A expression in CD177+ neutrophils. IL-17A expression was also analyzed in CD3+CD4+ and CD3+CD8+ lymphocyte populations. Asthmatic patients were classified as allergic to fungi, indoor allergens, or other allergens (e.g., pollen) based on a positive intradermal allergy test reaction.
The percentage of CD177+ neutrophils in whole blood of asthmatic patients was higher than in healthy controls and highest in the moderate asthma group. Furthermore, the percentage of CD177+IL-17+ neutrophils was elevated in patients with mild asthma, whereas the CD4+ IL-17+ lymphocyte population was higher in asthmatic patients and highest in those with moderate but persistent asthma. We also found that the four patients that were allergic to fungi had the highest percentage of CD177+IL17+ neutrophils and CD8+IL17+ lymphocytes.
IL17+CD177+ Neutrophils increase in allergic asthma patients especially when allergic to fungi. This cell population, through release of IL-17, might be contributing during the initial phase asthmatic disease and/or during disease progression but its role has not yet been established.
Neutrophils; IL-17; Allergic asthma; Blood
Diagnostic testing to antibiotics other than to penicillin has not been widely available, making the diagnosis of antibiotic allergy difficult and often erroneous. There is often reluctance in performing challenges to antibiotics when standardized testing is lacking. However, while the immunogenic determinants are not known for most antibiotics, a skin reaction at a non-irritating concentration (NIC) may mean that antibodies to the native form are present in the circulation. While the NIC’s for many non penicillin antibiotics have been determined in adults, the use of these concentrations for skin testing pediatric subjects prior to provocative challenge has not been done. Our objective was to determine if we could successfully uncover the true nature of antibiotic allergy in children using these concentrations for testing.
Children were included between 2003–2009 upon being referred to the Drug and Adverse Reaction/Toxicology (DART) clinic of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario Canada. The referral needed to demonstrate that clinical care was being compromised by the limitation in antibiotic options or there was a significant medical condition for which the label of antibiotic allergy may prove detrimental. Patients were not seen if there was a suggestion of serum like sickness, Stevens Johnson Syndrome or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. Patients were excluded from testing if there was objective evidence of anaphylaxis. All other patients were consented to receive testing and/or challenges. A retrospective chart review was then performed of the results.
We were able to exclude an antibiotic allergy in the majority of our patients who had a negative intradermal test result and were then challenged (>90%). Only one patient was challenged with a positive intradermal test to Cotrimoxazole because of a questionable history and this patient failed the provocative challenge. While we did not challenge more patients with positive testing, we did note that 10/11 (91%) patients with positive intradermal testing had some aspect of a Type 1 reaction in their history.
Through testing with NIC’s of various antibiotics in children and providing provocative challenges based on negative skin testing results, we were able to advance the medical care of the majority of our patients by increasing their antibiotic options in order to successfully treat future infections. While challenging patients with positive testing was not deemed ethically appropriate at this stage of our study, it would be a useful future step to reaching statistical validity of testing to these antibiotics.
Antibiotic allergy; Drug testing; Skin testing; Provocative challenge
Allergen-specific immunotherapy has been demonstrated to have potential for the treatment of allergic diseases. Transgenic animals are currently the best available bioreactors to produce recombinant proteins, which can be secreted in milk. It has not been clearly demonstrated whether milk from transgenic animals expressing recombinant allergens has immunomodulatory effects on allergic asthma.
We aimed to determine whether the oral administration of milk containing a mite allergen can down-regulate allergen-specific airway inflammation. Transgenic CD-1 mice that express a recombinant group 2 allergen from Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dp2) in their milk were generated using an embryonic gene-microinjection technique. Mouse pups were fed transgenic Dp2-containing milk or wild-type milk. Subsequently, these mice were sensitized and challenged with Dp2 to induce allergic airway inflammation.
Upon sensitization and challenge, mice fed transgenic Dp2 milk had decreased T-helper 2 (Th2) and increased T-helper 1 (Th1) responses in the airway compared with mice fed wild-type milk. Moreover, pre-treatment with transgenic Dp2 milk attenuated airway inflammation and decreased airway hyper-responsiveness.
This study provides new evidence that oral administration of transgenic milk containing the Dp2 allergen down-regulated and moderately protected against allergic airway inflammation. Milk from transgenic animals expressing allergens may have potential use in the prevention of allergic asthma.
Transgenic mice; Allergen; Asthma; Immunotherapy; Group 2 allergen of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus; Tolerance
Studies on time trends of allergic sensitization among adults are rare. The aim of the study was to compare the prevalence of allergic sensitization to common airborne allergens among adults 15 years apart and to identify risk factors for allergic sensitization.
Clinical examinations including skin prick test (SPT) and structured interviews were performed in two random population samples in 1994 and 2009. Furthermore, specific IgE was analyzed in 2009. SPT data were available for 483 subjects in 1994 and for 463 subjects in 2009 in ages 20–60 years. Specific IgE was analyzed in 692 subjects in ages 20–79 years.
Sensitization to cat (16% to 26%, p < 0.001), dog (13% to 25%, p < 0.001), birch (13% to 18%, p = 0.031) and timothy (12% to 21%, p < 0.001), based on SPT, increased significantly from 1994 to 2009. Sensitization to any positive SPT increased from 35% to 39%, p = 0.13.The proportion of having ≥3 positive SPT reactions increased from 40% to 56%, p = 0.002. The sensitization pattern yielded similar results based on specific IgE. Risk factors for allergic sensitization were having a family history of allergy (OR 3.1, 95% CI 2.0-4.8 for any positive SPT; OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.8-4.0 for any elevated IgE) and urban living (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.0-2.7; OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.4).
The prevalence of allergic sensitization to major airborne allergens as well as multi-sensitization increased significantly between the study years. Young age, a family history of allergy and urban living were significant risk factors for allergic sensitization.
Allergic sensitization; Epidemiology; IgE; Population study; Prevalence; Skin prick test
Atmospheric contamination caused by Asian sand-dust (ASD) storms aggravates asthma in both human adults and children. This study aims to investigate a series of manifestations in allergic airway disease caused by co-exposure to allergens and ASD for 6 weeks and 14 weeks.
CD-1 Mice were instilled intratracheally with 0.1 mg of ASD/mouse four times (6 weeks) or eight times (14 weeks) at 2-week intervals (total dose of 0.4 mg or 0.8 mg/mouse) with or without ovalbumin (OVA). The pathologic changes in the airway, cytological alteration in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and levels of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines in BALF, and OVA-specific IgE and IgG1 antibodies in serum were measured in the treated CD-1 mice.
Four-time co-exposure to OVA and ASD aggravates allergic airway inflammation along with Th2-cytokine IL-13 and eosinophil-relevant cytokine/chemokines IL-5, Eotaxin and MCP-3 in BALF, and fibrous thickening of the subepithelial layer in the airway. On the other hand, eight-time co-exposure attenuates these changes along with a significant increase of TGF-β1 in BALF. Adjuvant effects of ASD toward IgG1 and IgE production in sera were, however, still seen in the eight-time co-exposure.
These results indicate that the immune responses in airways are exacerbated by four-time co-exposure to ASD with OVA, but that there is a shift to suppressive responses in eight-time co-exposure, suggesting that the responses are caused by TGF-β1-related immune tolerance.
Insufficient knowledge of food allergy and anaphylaxis has been identified by caregivers as an important barrier to coping, and a potential cause of fear and anxiety, particularly for those with children newly diagnosed with food allergy.
The purpose of the study was to better understand the experiences of caregivers of children with a first allergic reaction to food, and to identify any deficiencies in the information received at diagnosis.
A mixed-methods study consisting of an online survey administered to the Anaphylaxis Canada online registry (a patient support group database of approximately 10,000 members), and a follow-up qualitative interview with a subset of survey participants. Analysis consisted of frequency analysis (quantitative and qualitative data) and descriptive statistics to calculate proportions and means with standard deviations. Qualitative analyses were guided by the constant comparative method of grounded theory methodology.
Of 293 survey respondents, 208 were eligible to complete the survey (first allergic reaction to food within 12 months of the study), and 184 respondents consented. Identified gaps included education about food allergy, anaphylaxis management, for example, how to use epinephrine auto- injectors, and coping strategies for fear and anxiety. The qualitative follow-up study supported these findings, yielding 3 major themes: 1) lack of provision of information following the episode on the recognition and management of food allergy related allergic reactions, 2) prolonged wait times for an allergist, and 3) significant family anxiety.
The online survey highlighted multiple deficiencies at diagnosis, findings which were supported by the follow up qualitative study. Results will inform the development of educational strategies for patients newly diagnosed with food allergy.
Anaphylaxis; Food allergy; Qualitative methods
Debate is intensifying about how to assess the full range of impacts from medical research. Complexity increases when assessing the diverse funding streams of funders such as Asthma UK, a charitable patient organisation supporting medical research to benefit people with asthma. This paper aims to describe the various impacts identified from a range of Asthma UK research, and explore how Asthma UK utilised the characteristics of successful funding approaches to inform future research strategies.
We adapted the Payback Framework, using it both in a survey and to help structure interviews, documentary analysis, and case studies. We sent surveys to 153 lead researchers of projects, plus 10 past research fellows, and also conducted 14 detailed case studies. These covered nine projects and two fellowships, in addition to the innovative case studies on the professorial chairs (funded since 1988) and the MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma (the ‘Centre’) which together facilitated a comprehensive analysis of the whole funding portfolio. We organised each case study to capture whatever academic and wider societal impacts (or payback) might have arisen given the diverse timescales, size of funding involved, and extent to which Asthma UK funding contributed to the impacts.
Projects recorded an average of four peer-reviewed journal articles. Together the chairs reported over 500 papers. All streams of funding attracted follow-on funding. Each of the various categories of societal impacts arose from only a minority of individual projects and fellowships. Some of the research portfolio is influencing asthma-related clinical guidelines, and some contributing to product development. The latter includes potentially major breakthroughs in asthma therapies (in immunotherapy, and new inhaled drugs) trialled by university spin-out companies. Such research-informed guidelines and medicines can, in turn, contribute to health improvements. The role of the chairs and the pioneering collaborative Centre is shown as being particularly important.
We systematically demonstrate that all types of Asthma UK’s research funding assessed are making impacts at different levels, but the main societal impacts from projects and fellowships come from a minority of those funded. Asthma UK used the study’s findings, especially in relation to the Centre, to inform research funding strategies to promote the achievement of impact.
Asthma; Asthma UK; Research impacts; Societal impacts; Clinical guidelines; University spin-out companies; Product development; Immunotherapy; Payback Framework; Research funding strategy
Azelastine has been shown to be effective against seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR). The Environmental Exposure Unit (EEU) is a validated model of experimental SAR. The objective of this double-blind, four-way crossover study was to evaluate the onset of action of azelastine nasal spray, versus the oral antihistamines loratadine 10 mg and cetirizine 10 mg in the relief of the symptoms of SAR.
70 participants, aged 18-65, were randomized to receive azelastine nasal spray, cetirizine, loratadine, or placebo after controlled ragweed pollen exposure in the EEU. Symptoms were evaluated using the total nasal symptom score (TNSS). The primary efficacy parameter was the onset of action as measured by the change from baseline in TNSS.
Azelastine displayed a statistically significant improvement in TNSS compared with placebo at all time points from 15 minutes through 6 hours post dose. Azelastine, cetirizine, and loratadine reduced TNSS compared to placebo with an onset of action of 15 (p < 0.001), 60 (p = 0.015), and 75 (p = 0.034) minutes, respectively. The overall assessment of efficacy was rated as good or very good by 46% of the participants for azelastine, 51% of the participants for cetirizine, and 30% of the participants for loratadine compared to 18% of the participants for placebo.
Azelastine’s onset of action for symptom relief was faster than that of cetirizine and loratadine. The overall participant satisfaction in treatment with azelastine is comparable to cetirizine and statistically superior to loratadine. These results suggest that azelastine may be preferential to oral antihistamines for the rapid relief of SAR symptoms.
Allergic rhinitis; Azelastine; Environmental exposure unit; Onset of action; Cetirizine; Loratadine
Multiple studies have demonstrated that early-life exposure to pets or siblings affords protection against allergic disease; these associations are commonly attributed to the “hygiene hypothesis”. Recently, low diversity of the infant gut microbiota has also been linked to allergic disease. In this study, we characterize the infant gut microbiota in relation to pets and siblings.
The study population comprised a small sub-sample of 24 healthy, full term infants from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort. Mothers reported on household pets and siblings. Fecal samples were collected at 4 months of age, and microbiota composition was characterized by high-throughput signature gene sequencing.
Microbiota richness and diversity tended to be increased in infants living with pets, whereas these measures were decreased in infants with older siblings. Infants living with pets exhibited under-representation of Bifidobacteriaceae and over-representation of Peptostreptococcaceae; infants with older siblings exhibited under-representation of Peptostreptococcaceae.
This study provides new evidence that exposure to pets and siblings may influence the early development of the gut microbiota, with potential implications for allergic disease. These two traditionally protective “hygiene hypothesis” factors appear to differentially impact gut microbiota composition and diversity, calling into question the clinical significance of these measures. Further research is required to confirm and expand these findings.
Infants; Gut microbiota; Gut microbiome; Hygiene hypothesis; Microflora hypothesis; Pets; Siblings; Atopy; Allergic disease; Environmental exposures
Helminth infections and allergies are associated with TH2 responses. Whereas the development of TH2 responses and allergic disorders in pediatric populations has been examined in affluent countries, no or little data exist from low income regions of the world.
The aim of this study is to examine factors influencing the development of TH2 responses of children born in areas endemic for helminth infections and to relate these factors to atopic sensitization at 4 years of age.
Data were collected from pregnant mothers on helminth infections, education and socioeconomic status (SES). Total IgE, IL-5 in response to mitogen, and helminth antigens were measured in children at 2, 5, 12, 24 and 48 months of age. Skin prick testing (SPT) and allergen-specific IgE were determined at 4 years of age.
Strong TH2 responses were seen at 5 months of age and increased with time. Although maternal filarial infection was associated with helminth-antigen specific TH2 responses, it was low maternal education or SES but not helminth infection, which was associated with the development of high total IgE and PHA-induced IL-5. At 4 years of age when allergen reactivity was assessed by SPT, the high general TH2 responses did not translate into higher prevalence of SPT. The risk factor for SPT reactivity was low maternal education which decreased the risk of SPT positivity to allergens (adjusted OR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.12 – 0.87) independently of maternal filarial infection which tended to reduce the child’s risk for being SPT positive (adjusted OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.07 – 1.70).
In areas endemic for helminths, potent TH2 responses were seen early in life, but did not translate into a higher SPT reactivity to allergens. Therefore, in many parts of the world TH2 responses in general and IgE in particular cannot be used for diagnosis of allergic diseases.
TH2; IgE; IL-5; Helminth; Atopy; Skin prick test; Children
Drug provocation tests (DPTs) are often needed when evaluating patients with suspected drug hypersensitivity reactions. General considerations on DPTs, with regard to indications, contraindications, methods, limitations and interpretations have been thoroughly addressed and various protocols are published. However, the field of drug allergy is changing and DPTs make no exception. Novel (or sometimes, simply renewed) approaches arise, awaiting to be either validated or refuted in larger studies in the future. Instead of covering the whole topic of DPTs, this paper will address these recent and challenging aspects.
Drug provocation test; Gold standard; Drug hypersensitivity reactions
The editors of Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology would like to thank all of our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 8 (2012).
We present two cases of food and exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FEIA) in patients with a diagnosis of oral allergy syndrome (OAS) to the implicated foods. Patient A had FEIA attributed to fresh coriander and tomato and Patient B to fresh celery. These food allergens have been implicated in OAS and have structural antigenic similarity to that of birch and/or grass. Both patients’ allergies were confirmed by fresh skin prick tests. In both cases, strenuous exercise was antecedent to the systemic anaphylaxis reaction and subsequent ingestion without exercise produced only local symptoms of perioral pruritus. We review the current proposed mechanisms for food and exercise induced anaphylaxis to oral allergens and propose a novel and more biologically plausible mechanism. We hypothesize that the inhibitory effects of exercise on gastric acid secretion decreases the digestion of oral allergens and preserves structural integrity, thereby allowing continued systemic absorption of the allergen whether it be profilins, lipid transfer proteins, or other antigenic determinants.
Food and exercise-induced anaphylaxis; Food allergy; Exercise; Anaphylaxis; Mechanism
The aetiology of childhood asthma is complex. An early dysfunction in the immunological development of the innate immune system in combination with environmental factors possibly triggers asthma. CD14 and toll-like receptors are important components of the innate immune system. The aim of this systematic review was to obtain a better insight into the relation between CD14 and toll-like receptors and childhood asthma in Caucasians. We searched PubMed and EMBASE for relevant articles. In total, 44 articles were included. The quality of the selected studies was independently assessed by the first two authors using the Newcastle-Ottawa quality assessment scale. Toll-like receptor 2, toll-like receptor 6, toll-like receptor 9, and toll-like receptor 10 appear to have some association with childhood asthma in Caucasians. The evidence for a relation of CD14 with childhood asthma is limited. In conclusion, there is no convincing evidence yet for a role of CD14 and toll-like receptors in relation to childhood asthma. Future studies should include haplotype analysis and take environmental factors into account to further clarify the role of CD14 and toll-like receptors on childhood asthma.
Asthma; Caucasian; CD14; Children; Gene expression; Genetic variants; Polymorphisms; TLR; Wheeze
Uncontrolled asthma remains a frequent cause of emergency department (ED) visits and hospital admissions. Improper asthma inhaler device use is most likely one of the major causes associated with uncontrolled asthma and frequent ED visits.
To evaluate the inhaler technique among asthmatic patients seen in ED, and to investigate the characteristics of these patients and factors associated with improper use of inhaler devices and its relationship with asthma control and ED visits.
A cross-sectional study of all the patients who visited the ED with bronchial asthma attacks over a 9-month period was undertaken at two major academic hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Information was collected about demographic data and asthma management and we assessed the inhaler techniques for each patient using an inhaler technique checklist.
A total of 450 asthma patients were included in the study. Of these, 176(39.1%) were males with a mean age of 42.3 ±16.7 years and the mean duration of asthma was 155.9 ± 127.1 weeks. The improper use of asthma inhaler devices was observed in 203(45%) of the patients and was associated with irregular clinic follow-ups (p = 0.0001), lack of asthma education (p = 0.0009), uncontrolled asthma ACT (score ≤ 15) (p = 0.001), three or more ED visits (p = 0.0497), and duration of asthma of less than 52 weeks (p = 0.005). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that a lack of education about asthma disease (OR =1.65; 95% CI: 1.07, 2.54) or a lack of regular follow-up (OR =1.73; 95% CI: 1.08, 2.76) was more likely to lead to the improper use of an asthma inhaler device.
Improper asthma inhaler device use is associated with poor asthma control and more frequent ED visits. We also identified many avoidable risk factors leading to the improper use of inhaler devices among asthma patients visiting the ED.
Asthma control; Inhaled corticosteroid; Emergency department; Inhaler devices; Asthma education
A diagnosis of peanut allergy has a major impact on an individual’s quality of life. Exposure to even small amounts of peanut can trigger serious reactions. Common cleaning agents can easily remove peanut allergen from surfaces such as table tops. Parents of children with peanut allergy frequently ask if peanut allergen can persist on surfaces if they have not been cleaned.
The purpose of this study was to determine the persistence of peanut allergen on a typical table surface over time.
Five mL of peanut butter was evenly smeared on a 12 inch by 12 inch (30.5 by 30.5 cm) square on a nonporous (laminated plastic) table surface. Five squares were prepared in the same manner. The table was kept in a regular hospital office at room temperature and ambient lighting. No cleaning occurred for 110 days. Samples were taken at regular intervals from different areas each time. A monoclonal-based ELISA for arachis hypogaea allergen 1 (Ara h 1), range of detection 1.95-2000 ng/mL, was used to assess peanut allergen on the table surface.
At baseline, there was no detectable Ara h 1 allergen. Immediately post application and for 110 days of collecting, detectable Ara h 1 was found each time a sample was taken. There was no obvious allergen degradation over time. Active cleaning of the contaminated surface with a commercial cleaning wipe resulted in no detectable Ara h 1 allergen.
Peanut allergen is very robust. Detectable Ara h 1 was present on the table surface for 110 days. Active cleaning of peanut contaminated surfaces easily removed peanut residue and allergen. Regular cleaning of surfaces before and after eating should be reinforced as a safety measure for all individuals with peanut allergy.
Food allergy; Peanut allergen; Contamination; Ara h 1