THURSDAY, Sept. 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Allergy immunotherapy (AIT) is associated with a decreased risk for asthma progression, particularly in younger patients, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in Allergy.

Jochen Schmitt, M.P.H., from the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, and colleagues used German health care insurance data (2005 to 2014) to investigate the effect of AIT on asthma progression based on severity classifications made by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA).

The researchers identified 39,167 individuals (aged ≥14 years) with incident asthma during the study period. Just over 10 percent of these individuals (10.5 percent) received AIT. There was a significant decrease in risk for progression noted with AIT exposure: from GINA step 1 to GINA step 3 (hazard ratio, 0.87) and GINA step 3 to GINA step 4 (hazard ratio, 0.66). The investigators observed a stronger benefit among the younger age groups. This finding supports current recommendations to start causal treatment with AIT early in the course of disease.

“Our study supports the assumption that treatment with AIT may prevent the progression from mild to more severe asthma,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including ALK-Abelló, which funded the study.

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