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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Hypersensitivity reactions to mAbs: 105 desensitizations in 23 patients, from evaluation to treatment

Patrick J Brennan, Tito Rodriguez Bouza, F Ida Hsu, David E Sloane, Mariana C Castells
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2009, 124 (6): 1259-66
19910036

BACKGROUND: Rapid desensitization, a procedure for graded drug administration, allows for the safe readministration of a medication after certain types of hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) and is indicated in cases in which there are no reasonable therapeutic alternatives. The use of rapid desensitization for HSRs to mAbs has not been validated.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to describe our experience with rapid desensitization to mAbs, including rituximab, infliximab, and trastuzumab.

METHODS: One hundred five rapid desensitizations were performed in 23 patients with a standardized 12-step, 6-hour protocol. Our approach to patient evaluation before desensitization is described. The severity, characteristics, and timing of both initial HSRs and HSRs during desensitization were determined by means of retrospective review of medical records. After a reaction during desensitization, patient-specific protocol modifications were made before each subsequent desensitization.

RESULTS: 104 of 105 desensitizations undertaken were successfully completed. We observed HSRs during 29% of desensitizations, including 27 mild reactions, 1 moderate reaction, and 2 severe reactions. Overall, reactions during desensitization were markedly less severe than initial HSRs, but reactions did recur in a minority of successive desensitizations.

CONCLUSIONS: Rapid desensitization is a promising method for the delivery of monoclonal therapeutics after an HSR, but the possibility of a reaction remains with each desensitization.

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