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Anaphylaxis management plans for the acute and long-term management of anaphylaxis: a systematic review.

BACKGROUND: Anaphylaxis management plans (AMPs) are increasingly advocated to improve outcomes and reduce the risk of recurrence in persons with anaphylaxis. A recent systematic review investigating their effectiveness failed to identify any randomized controlled trial evidence to guide clinical decision making.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to identify and describe available AMPs, assess their acceptability and likely effectiveness, and understand potential facilitators and barriers to their use.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review of published, unpublished, and ongoing epidemiologic and qualitative studies, searching 13 international databases and contacting an international panel of anaphylaxis experts. Studies were critically appraised using established international criteria and thematically synthesized.

RESULTS: Nineteen of 789 potentially eligible studies identified satisfied our inclusion criteria. A number of AMPs exist, and other than agreement on the central importance of early administration of self-administered epinephrine, there is a range of perspectives on what should be included. AMPs are acceptable to patients/caregivers and might considerably reduce the risk of recurrence. This latter finding needs to be interpreted with caution given the substantial risk of bias in the limited number of intervention studies conducted. Access to specialists, problems with follow-up, and indemnity considerations relating to emergency administration of epinephrine in schools are important structural barriers to their wider use.

CONCLUSIONS: There are currently no universally accepted AMPs. The available evidence to support use of self-management plans is encouraging but is, in comparison with other long-term conditions, such as asthma, extremely weak. The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of AMPs need to be formally evaluated.

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