Venom immunotherapy in the Hymenoptera-allergic pregnant patient

Howard J. Schwartz, David B.K. Golden, Richard F. Lockey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Natural or iatrogenic causes of anaphylaxis are significant risk factors in pregnancy. A 3% to 5% risk of sting anaphylaxis in any pregnant woman with insect-sting allergy untreated with venom immunotherapy (VIT) can be calculated. Insect-sting anaphylaxis has allegedly caused severe fetal abnormalities and is a potential cause of fetal loss and severe maternal morbidity and/or mortality. Hymenoptera anaphylaxis is a highly preventable cause of anaphylaxis, but VIT may itself carry a risk potential, with an appropriate 5% reaction during buildup and 1% reaction risk during maintenance VIT. To assess the safety of VIT in pregnancy, we have gathered data from 26 women with 43 pregnancies. All the women were receiving VIT. One woman was stung early in pregnancy with anaphylaxis resulting. Outcome of pregnancy was normal. Thirty-six of the pregnancies ended normally. There were two mild adverse reactions to VIT, neither of which required treatment. One child was born with multiple congenital abnormalities of unknown cause. Since congenital malformations may occur as frequently as one in 40 live births, these data do not suggest a significant increased risk from VIT during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-712
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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