Adherence to imported fire ant subcutaneous immunotherapy

Shayne C. Stokes*, James M. Quinn, Joshua J. Sacha, Kevin M. White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Imported fire ant (IFA) subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) is safe and effective. For optimal protection, SCIT is given monthly for 3 to 5 years. Successful outcomes require patient adherence. Objective: To evaluate SCIT adherence in IFA allergic patients in an endemic area. Methods: Patients with systemic reactions to an IFA sting, with detectable specific IgE, who received a recommendation to start IFA SCIT were included. Initial reaction severity and demographic data were collected. Patients were contacted at 1 year regarding interval reactions to stings, SCIT adherence, and reason for nonadherence. Adherence rates were analyzed for association with age, sex, and severity of initial reaction. Results: Seventy-six patients were enrolled, and 71% adhered to the recommendation to start IFA SCIT. Subgroup analysis did not find significant differences. At 1 year, 97% completed follow-up for analysis, and only 35% remained adherent. Subgroup analysis did not find significant differences. Inconvenience and fear were reported as reasons for not following the recommendation to start or continue with IFA SCIT. Conclusion: IFA SCIT is a life-saving therapy that is safe and effective. Despite this, only 71% followed the recommendation to start, and at 1 year only 35% remained adherent. Adherence was not statistically related to age, sex, or severity of initial reaction. Logistical constraints and fear were significant impediments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-167
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


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