Allergy Immunotherapy

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					Allergy Immunotherapy in the
College Health Setting
                       New York State College Health Association
                             2010 ANNUAL MEETING

Mary Madsen RN – BC
Assistant Director, Clinical Operations
University Health Service
University of Rochester
 Allergies: immune system overreacts by producing
   antibodies called Immunglobulin E (IGE) these
  travel to cells and release chemicals, causing the
                   allergic reactions

 Allergy shots (immunotherapy) are aimed at increasing
  your tolerance to allergens that trigger your symptoms
 Allergy shots work like a vaccine, your body responds to
  the increased injected amounts of a particular antigen and
  develops a resistance and tolerance
 Indicated for allergic asthma, allergic
  rhinitis/conjunctivitis, stinging insect allergy
 The preferred location for administration is the prescribing
  physician’s office, especially for high risk patients
 AIT must be initiated and monitored by an allergist
 Pts. may receive AIT at another health care facility if the
  physician and the staff are equipped to recognize and
  manage systemic reactions
 Full, clear, detailed immunotherapy schedule must be
 Constant, uniform labeling system for extracts, dilutions
  and vials
 Procedures to avoid clerical/nursing errors (i.e. pt. photo
  ID) (file by DOB)
    Issues in College Health Setting
   Information needed from allergist
   Policies and procedures that increase safety
   Immediate and delayed reactions
   Recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis
   Preparedness plan for educating staff
        Immunotherapy Safety
 Incidence of fatalities has not changed much in the
  last 30 years in the US
 From 1990-2001 fatal reactions occurred at a rate
  of 1 per 2.5 million injections
 Most occur during maintenance phase or “rush”
 Poorly controlled asthmatics at greatest risk
 Many deaths associated with a delay in
  administering epinephrine or not giving it at all
   Preparedness of health service
 Established medical protocols and treatment
 Stock and maintain equipment/supplies
 Physicians and staff maintain “clinical
  proficiency” in anaphylaxis recognition and
 Consideration of drills tailored to assess skills,
  response, and preparedness of office staff
 Tailor drill to consider access to local EMS-
  response times vary by location
        Patient Responsibility
 Patient must wait 20-30 minutes in office
 Those with prior systemic or delayed
  reactions should wait longer
 Compliance with injection schedule
 Report any reactions to PCP and allergist
 Epi-Pen kits for self treatment
   Local Reactions Are Common
Redness, swelling, warmth at   Measurement Scales
                                Differ between
 Large, local, delayed
  reactions do not predict
  the development of severe     Measure in mm
  systemic reactions            Compare to coin
 Local reactions may affect
                                Grade 1+ - 4+
  dosing schedule
                                Length of reaction
Options for treating local reaction
Don’t need MD order          Do need MD order
   Change needle             Non sedating
   Ice to site                antihistamine prior to
   Hydrocortisone to site     injection
   Benedryl spray to site    Benedryl rinse
                              Epi rinse
                              Lowering dose
                              Halt dose increase during
                               pollen season
 Benadryl or Epi Rinse Instructions

 Draw Benadryl into syringe
 Pull plunger of syringe back until the entire
  barrel of syringe has been coated with
 Return Benadryl to original Benadryl
 Fill syringe with appropriate dose
                 Systemic Reactions
 Incidence of systemic reactions ranges from 0.05% to 3.2% of
 Most occur during maintenance phase
 Poorly controlled asthmatics at greatest risk
 Many deaths are associated with a delay in administering epinephrine
  or not giving at all
 Risk factors include:
       Dosing errors
       Symptomatic asthma
       High degree of allergy hypersensitivity
       Use of beta blockers/ACE-I
       New vials
       Injections during the allergy season
       Dosing protocols (rush regimens)
Symptoms of Systemic Reactions
 Any allergic symptom that occurs at a
  location other than the site of the injection
      Chest congestion or wheezing
      Angioedema-swelling of lips,tongue, nose, or throat
      Urticaria, itching, rash at any other site
      Abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting
      Light-headedness, headache
      Feeling of impending doom, decrease in level of
   Anaphylaxis: potentially deadly allergic reaction
 that is rapid in onset, most commonly triggered by
            food, medication or insect sting
 Most common:ATB (penicillin, cephalosorins)
                 Food (nuts, cows milk, seafood)
 Age trends:
             Adolescents/young adults: foods
             Middle age: venom
             Older adults: medications
     Recognition of Anaphylaxis
         for college health, this isn’t just for allergy injections!

 Most reactions (1/2 – 1/3) occur in 20-30 minutes of vaccine
      10% 30 – 60 min (asthma with multiple injections
       Medication 10-20 min
       Insect sting 10-15 min
       Foods 25 – 35 min

Late phase (8-12 hrs) reactions possible
 Prompt recognition of potentially life threatening
  reactions by staff and patients
 Urticaria/angioedema are the most common initial
  symptoms--but they may be absent or delayed
Most Common Signs and Symptoms

 Skin: flushing, itching, urticaria: 90%
 Upper and lower airway signs: cough,
  wheezing, dyspnea, change in voice quality,
  feeling of throat closing: 70%
 GI symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,
  crampy abdominal pain: 40%
       5 Most Common Factors
          in Fatal Reactions
Uncontrolled asthma (62%)
Prior history of systemic reaction (53)
Injections during peak pollen season (43%)
Delay/failure in epi treatment (43%)
Allergy injection given IM instead of SQ or
 dosing error (17%)
Also: upright posture
     Recommended Equipment
 Stethoscope, BP cuff      Diphenhydramine
 Tourniquet, large bore     (oral and injection)
  IV needles, IV set-up     Albuterol nebulized
 Aqueous epinephrine       Glucagon
 O2 and mask/nasal
 Oral airway
 Treatment log
       Immediate Intervention
 Assess ABC’s
 Administer epinephrine ASAP! There is no
 Fatalities usually result from delayed
  administration of epinephrine--with
  respiratory, and cardiovascular complications
 Subsequent care based on response to epinephrine
 1:1000 dilution, 0.3 mg. dose administered IM or
  SQ q5 minutes as needed to control BP and other
    Tourniquet above injection site
    Pt can use their Epi-pen
 Effect of epi can be blunted by beta-blockers, with
  severe, prolonged sx including bronchospasm,
  bradycardia, and hypotension
 Glucagon can be used to reverse beta blockers
       IM vs. SQ Epinephrine
 Both routes of injection appear in the
 IM injections into the thigh have been
  reported to provide more rapid absorption
  and higher plasma levels than IM or SQ
  injections into the arm.
 Studies directly comparing different routes
  have not been done
       Interventions continued…
   Establish/maintain airway
   Give O2/check pulse ox
   IV access, hang IV fluids with NS
   Consider:
     Diphenhydramine 25-50 mg. IM
     Albuterol nebulized

 Transfer to ED
Measures to reduce dosing errors
   Educate staff administering
   Standardize forms & protocols
   Multiple identity checks: name/DOB
   One patient in “shot” room
   Avoid distractions to staff
   Patient education about systemic reactions
  Increase administration safety
 Detailed instructions from allergist
 Develop own step by step process for giving
 Standardize forms to document injections
 Standardize treatment for systemic reaction
 Agreement form for student compliance
 All staff competency and mock systemic reaction
 Review of health status before injections
     Review Health Status Before
       Injections       (why you don’t draw injection first)

   Current asthma symptoms, ? Measure peak flow
   Current allergy symptoms and medication use
   New medications (beta blockers, ACE-I)
   Delayed reactions to previous injections
   Compliance with injection schedule
   New illness (fever), pregnancy
   Consultation with allergist as needed
   Position Statement on the Administration of Immunotherapy Outside of the
    Prescribing Allergist Facility, ACAAI, October 1997.
   Rank MA, Li JTC. Allergen Immunotherapy. Mayo Clin Proc.
   Stokes JR, Casale TB. Allergy Immunotherapy for Primary Care Physicians.
    AJM. 2006;119(10):820-823.
   Lieberman P, Kemp SF, Oppenheimer J, et al. The diagnosis and management
    of anaphylaxis:an updated practice parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunology
   Li JT, Lockey IL, Bernstein JM, et al. Allergen immunotherapy: a practice
    parameter. Ann Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.2003;90:1-40.