Clinical and immunologic follow-up of patients who stop venom immunotherapy

M. U. Keating, A. Kagey-Sobotka, R. G. Hamilton, J. W. Yunginger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


We prospectively studied 51 self-selected Hymenoptera sting-sensitive patients to determine (1) whether a minimal or optimal duration for venom immunotherapy (VIT) exists and (2) whether clinical or immunologic parameters exist that are predictive of clinical immunity after VIT was stopped. After 2 to 10 years of VIT, all patients had deliberate sting challenges (DSCs) from live insects. If DSCs were tolerated, patients voluntarily stopped VIT and returned annually for repeat venom skin tests (VSTs) and DSCs. In most patients, it was possible to monitor VST and venom-specific antibody (Ab) levels before and after VIT was stopped. One-year after VIT, VST and venom-specific IgE and IgG Ab level results were variable; 49 patients tolerated DSC, whereas two patients exhibited generalized reactions. These two patients had pre-VIT histories of grade IV field-sting reactions and had received VIT for 2 years and 4 years, respectively. The short-term (1 year) risk of recurrence of clinical allergy to stings after VIT was higher in patients who had experienced grade IV field-sting reactions before VIT versus patients experiencing grade I to III reactions before VIT ( 2 15, 13% versus 0 36, 0%) and higher in patients who had received VIT for less than 5 years versus patients who received VIT for 5 or more years (2/20, 10% versus 0/31, 0%). We suggest that VIT should be continued for 5 years in patients with pre-VIT field-sting reactions of grade IV severity. VST and venom-specific Ab results do not reliably predict the outcome of DSC or the subsequent clinical course in individual patients stopping VIT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-348
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
Issue number3 PART 1
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Hymenoptera
  • IgE antibodies
  • IgG antibodies
  • immunotherapy
  • venom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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