Background: Allergy immunotherapy during early childhood may have potential benefits for the prevention of asthma and allergy morbidity. However, subcutaneous immunotherapy has not yet been prospectively researched in children younger than 4 years, primarily because of safety concerns, including the fear and psychological distress young children may experience with repeated needle injections. Objective: To quantify fear in atopic children younger than 4 years with a history of wheezing who are receiving subcutaneous immunotherapy. Methods: Fear of injection was graded during a total of 788 immunotherapy injection visits in 18 children (age, 37 months; SD, 9 months) receiving subcutaneous allergy immunotherapy. The parent and the injection nurse assigned fear scores on a scale of 0 to 10 after each injection visit. Results: At the time of analysis, children had a median of 49 injection visits (range, 12-88) during a median study period of 81.5 weeks (range, 15-165 weeks). Fifteen children (83%) lost their fear of injections during the study. A fear score of 0 was achieved after a mean of 8.4 visits (SD, 7.4). The more injection visits were missed, the more likely children were to retain fear of injections (hazard ratio, 0.13; 95% confidence interval, 0.02-1.02; P=.05). Age, adverse events, number of injections at each visit, and change of injection personnel were not associated with increased fear. Conclusion: Our analysis suggests that most children receiving weekly subcutaneous immunotherapy lose their fear of injections during the treatment course. Children with increased intervals between visits may be at higher risk of experiencing fear of injections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine