ATLANTA, GA—Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) appears to be safe among elderly people, who experienced fewer and less severe reactions compared to adult and pediatric populations, according to findings of a retrospective analysis presented at the 2017 AAAAI Annual Meeting.

“In our population, the senior group receiving SCIT had a much lower reaction rate,” reported lead study author Gregory Rosner, MD, of Winthrop University Hospital Department of Allergy and Immunology, in Mineola, NY. 

A total of 158 patients receiving SCIT to aeroallergens were included in the study, including 24 patients who were at least age 65 years, 106 younger adults (ages 19–64 years), and 30 pediatric patients (ages 6–18 years). SCIT reaction rates and the post-reaction discontinuation rates were analyzed.

Reactions to SCIT were identified in 25% (n=6) of the elderly group vs. 38% (n=40) of the adult group and 47% (n=14) of the pediatric group (P=0.05), the authors reported. Additionally, all SCIT reactions experienced seen in the elderly group were considered World Allergy Organization (WAO) cutaneous-only, grade I reactions. 

“None of the senior patients required epinephrine for their reactions while 9 adult patients and 1 pediatric patient were treated with epinephrine,” the authors noted.

Half (n=3) of the elderly patients who experienced SCIT reactions discontinued SCIT, compared to 53% (n=21) of the younger adults and 36% (n=5) of the pediatric patients, they reported.

“The higher rate of SCIT discontinuation in the adult and senior populations may reflect physician unease with continuing immunotherapy in these populations,” they speculated.