According to the World Allergy Organization (WAO), between 30% and 40% of the world population suffers from some type of allergy (Getty)
Allergies normally have their origin in our immune system, whose function is to defend us against invading agents that can cause disease. When a person is allergic, their immune defense system mistakes a harmless substance for a pathogen.
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Allergic manifestations occur through the inflammatory immunological reaction of certain organs (skin, nose, eye, bronchi) to stimuli that are not harmful called allergens.
These stimuli can be from very diverse sources, such as pollen, animal dander, fungi from the environment, or house dust mites. There are other specific triggers such as insects, some medications or contact elements, to which the allergic patient can also react. In general, those who do not have an allergy tolerate this exposure and do not react.
Within the framework of World Allergy Day, which is celebrated today, July 8, Dr. Maximiliano Gómez, president of the Argentine Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (AAAeIC) and dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Catholic University de Salta (UCaSal), explained to Infobae the mechanisms of this disease and anticipated the findings of the study he directed, a meta-analysis on the efficacy and safety of treatment with the second-generation antihistamine fexofenadine.
It is estimated that by 2050 almost half of the global population will suffer from some type of allergy (Getty)
Allergic manifestations occur “due to a genetic/family predisposition that cannot be modified, but is absolutely conditioned by exposure to allergens and environmental conditions. Therefore, climate changes and pollution worsen environmental conditions and generate inflammatory phenomena in different parts of the body. In those who have an allergic basis, this situation worsens significantly. This process of climate change and pollution has highlighted the growing number of people with allergic effects,” said Dr. Gómez, who also .
Among the different types of allergies, allergic rhinitis is the most common and affects 1 in 5 people worldwide. In Argentina, it is estimated that 20.5% of adults between 20 and 40 years of age suffer from it. It is a symptomatic disorder of the nose with inflammation of the nasal mucosa, and the symptoms are: watery runny nose, itchy nose and/or throat, sneezing, nasal and/or eye congestion.
Sustained and recurrent allergic rhinitis affects people’s quality of life, so it is important to treat it as soon as possible so that it does not interrupt daily activities.
Dr. Gómez, who also chairs the Ayre Foundation dedicated to allergic diseases and asthma, led the meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials on the efficacy and safety of fexofenadine for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. It was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Four new studies were added to the previous systematic review (from 2011), including eight studies, so that 12 scientific investigations were finally analyzed in the update.
Fexofenadine is an antihistamine used in the treatment of allergy symptoms such as allergic rhinitis, which affects 1 in 5 people worldwide (Getty)
In the safety and efficacy study, fexofenadine showed a significant reduction in instantaneous and morning symptoms compared to placebo. Rate of adverse events or side effects that was comparable to placebo, with headache being the most frequent. Of the 3,687 patients evaluated, 1,910 received fexofenadine showing a significant reduction in Total Symptom Score (TSS) compared to 1,777 individuals who received placebo.
“The analysis of all comparable and evaluable studies with fexofenadine has been expanded and updated. Based on scientific data on more than 4,000 patients, the efficacy of the drug as an anti-allergy is reinforced (significantly improving nasal allergy symptoms) as well as the safety of the drug, comparable to placebo. All this evidence has backed the support that allowed this drug to be authorized for free sale,” Dr. Gómez explained to Infobae.
Regarding the findings of this analysis, the president of the Argentine Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology told Infobae: “Fexofenadine is a safe anti-allergy, even in special circumstances in which only old anti-allergy drugs were indicated for fear. Its advantage over other similar drugs lies in the studies that have shown that it does not cause drowsiness, and therefore does not interfere with work or school performance.
Allergies often start in our immune system, which protects us from invading disease-causing organisms. When a person suffers from an allergy, their immune system mistakes a harmless substance for an invader (Getty)
This occurs because fexofenadine does not alter the REM sleep cycle (essential for restful sleep) neither in children nor in adults, which has a positive impact on patient productivity: “Its efficacy has been widely demonstrated. Therefore, it can be considered an ideal anti-allergy agent”, added Dr. Gómez. The drug is intended for patients older than 2 years and can be taken during pregnancy.
Most of the trials included in this review were based on short-term treatment of people with seasonal allergy and short-term treatment of individuals with seasonal allergic rhinitis caused by natural exposure to pollen. Only one study included subjects with perennial disease related to house dust mite sensitivity.
“Since allergic rhinoconjunctivitis represents the most common atopic disease worldwide and the previous meta-analysis was published in 2011, we needed an update on the efficacy and safety of fexofenadine in the pediatric, adult, and adolescent population,” Dr. Gómez clarified. .
In addition to Dr. Gómez, Dr. Pablo Moreno, former president of AAAeIC, Dr. Enrico Compalati, from GVM Care & Research in Genoa, Italy; Dr. Giorgio W Canónica, Head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Humanitas University in Milan, Italy; and Dr. Ignacio J. Ansotegui, Head of Allergy and Immunology at Hospital Quirón Salud Bizkaia, in Bilbao, Spain.
The use of fexofenadine is authorized from 2 years of age. Regarding special situations such as pregnancy, there are records of not having induced adverse events, as well as in cardiovascular and neurological evaluations.
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