Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies


Immunotherapy; Allergic Asthma; Hypersensitivity; Allergies; Asthma; Physiology; SCIT; SLIT


Allergies are a major public health problem affecting over 300 million people worldwide (Asamoah et. al). An allergic response can occur when a harmless substance, such as tree pollen, is inhaled into the body and mistakenly identified as a harmful substance. Antibodies then bind to the allergen causing a release of chemicals that leads to symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes or skin reactions. For some people, this reaction can also affect the lungs and airways leading to asthma symptoms.

This review analyzes articles from PubMed, Cochran, Clinical Key and references found from UpToDate articles to assess the effect that allergens have on the upper respiratory system on a pathophysiological basis and to evaluate how immunotherapy can be used to decrease the hypersensitive reaction that occurs in people with allergy-induced asthma.

Researchers have found that immunotherapy can decrease the immune system’s hypersensitivity and reduce the release of inflammatory cells. As a result, people with allergy-induced asthma were able to increase their immune system and decrease their use of medication and emergency room visits. Through these studies, the effectiveness of both subcutaneous and sublingual immunotherapies were compared in an attempt to provide a better understanding of both methods. These studies faced several challenges, including: the costs of the studies; difficulty controlling outside influences such as pollen levels; and the commitment of each patient to see the trial through to completion.

Results from these studies concluded that immunotherapy can reduce the sensitivity to those allergens that contribute to asthma symptoms in people whose medication therapy cannot keep their symptoms under control. Although the results of these studies are encouraging, larger studies with greater sample sizes are warranted to reaffirm the knowledge gained in these studies and the positive effects of immunotherapy on people suffering from allergies and allergic asthma.