EAACI guidelines on allergen immunotherapy: Hymenoptera venom allergy.
Hymenoptera venom allergy is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction following a honeybee, vespid, or ant sting. Systemic-allergic sting reactions have been reported in up to 7.5% of adults and up to 3.4% of children. They can be mild and restricted to the skin or moderate to severe with a risk of life-threatening anaphylaxis. Patients should carry an emergency kit containing an adrenaline autoinjector, H1 -antihistamines, and corticosteroids depending on the severity of their previous sting reaction(s). The only treatment to prevent further systemic sting reactions is venom immunotherapy. This guideline has been prepared by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology's (EAACI) Taskforce on Venom Immunotherapy as part of the EAACI Guidelines on Allergen Immunotherapy initiative. The guideline aims to provide evidence-based recommendations for the use of venom immunotherapy, has been informed by a formal systematic review and meta-analysis and produced using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE II) approach. The process included representation from a range of stakeholders. Venom immunotherapy is indicated in venom-allergic children and adults to prevent further moderate-to-severe systemic sting reactions. Venom immunotherapy is also recommended in adults with only generalized skin reactions as it results in significant improvements in quality of life compared to carrying an adrenaline autoinjector. This guideline aims to give practical advice on performing venom immunotherapy. Key sections cover general considerations before initiating venom immunotherapy, evidence-based clinical recommendations, risk factors for adverse events and for relapse of systemic sting reaction, and a summary of gaps in the evidence.