Do allergy shots help eczema?
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic and relapsing skin disease characterized by itching and skin inflammation. It affects 15-20% of children and up to 5% of adults.
The cause of eczema if multifactorial, and it is driven by a combination of skin barrier defects, immune dysregulation, and external stimuli like allergens, irritants and microbes. The exact role of allergens such as dust mites and pollens remains unclear.
Allergy shots or allergy immunotherapy involves the administration of increasing amounts of a specific allergen to an allergic patient in order to induce tolerance to it.
Both subcutaneous allergy shots and sublingual immunotherapy are well established safe and effective treatments for allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma, and they both have possible long-term disease modifying benefits.
Previous studies of allergy immunotherapy for eczema have shown mixed results. A recent study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology did a meta-analysis of many studies to review the effectiveness and safety of allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots and sublingual) for patients with eczema (atopic dermatitis).
23 studies were included and nearly 2000 adult and pediatric patients who were primarily sensitized to dust mites. The conclusions found were:
- Add on allergy shots and sublingual led to similar and important improvements in eczema severity (defined as a 50% reduction in eczema severity and quality of life).
- Both therapies had an increased adverse events.
- Allergy immunotherapy effect on sleep disturbance and eczema flares were uncertain.
The overall study found that, SCIT and SLIT to aeroallergens, particularly to house dust mite, can improve eczema severity and quality of life.
Overall if you have allergic rhinitis or allergic asthma and also have eczema, allergy immunotherapy could help your eczema. Starting allergy shots or sublingual immunotherapy to help your eczema, the results show about a 50% in eczema severity according to SCORAD scoring. As opposed to 80 to 90 percent of people improve with allergy immunotherapy for allergic rhinitis or allergic asthma.