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Are allergy shots safe long-term?

Published on May 03, 2012 with 2 comments

Much is known about the immediate and short-term side effects of allergy shots, or subcutaneous immunotherapy. However, little is known about the long-term effects of allergy shot immunotherapy. Because allergy shots modify the immune response, questions have lingered as to whether long term immunotherapy could affect other immune-related inflammatory diseases, for better or for worse,

In the February, 2012 edition of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology this issue was addressed by epidemiological researchers in Denmark. They studied the incidence of autoimmune disease, ischemic heart disease (heart attacks), and mortality rates in 18,841 patients on allergy shots, compared to 428,484 persons whose allergies were treated without allergy shots.

The conclusion is very encouraging, indeed. Overall, the allergy shot group had a lower risk of autoimmune disease and fewer heart attacks, as well as a decreased all-cause mortality as compared to the conventional treatment group.

We are a long way from your rheumatologist or cardiologist recommending allergy shots as a preventive for immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases.  But, this study does add credible evidence to the safety of immunotherapy and its long-term effects.


Hi! I develop Polychondritis a rare autoimmune disease when I was 13 years old,I was under AIT, (polychondritis often appear arround 40s and 60s)

There are some cases published on the literature and other that are not registerd we need more investigation about this relationship of AIT and autoimmune diseases.

Because AIT make a shift from Th2 to Th1 immune profile (wich seems to be linked to a high number of autoimmune diseases)

By carlos roman on 2012 05 11

Allergy shots are safe and effective. However, their long-term assurance of immunization may vary from person to person. Some could not get the lifetime immunization, but it may be effective for some. The most effective thing to do is to avoid allergens per se.

By Scott Alexander on 2012 06 24

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