What Do You Consider to Be the Top Medical Advances of the Past 20 Years?

Ryan Syrek, Editor


May 27, 2015

Early introduction of allergenic foods: Reversing a 30-year trend, allergists now recommend early introduction of potentially allergenic foods to children, starting as early as 4-5 months of age. Early exposure to food and food allergies may help prevent the development of allergic reactions.

Biologics: The development of monoclonal antibodies directed at precise targets has changed the face of medicine. From anti-human IgE used for asthma and urticaria to specific arrays on melanoma cells, which can cure melanoma that would otherwise be fatal, the use of these new treatments has changed medicine and will have even more effects as more products become available.

Allergen immunotherapy: Allergists now have the choice of using either injection therapy or sublingual immunotherapy to facilitate allergy desensitization. The subcutaneous route is extremely effective but takes some time to accomplish; sublingual treatment is less effective but easier to administer and is very acceptable to patients.

Intranasal treatment for allergic rhinitis: Data support the concept that intranasal corticosteroids combined with an intranasal antihistamine provides the best available treatment of and protection against allergic rhinitis.

Combination therapy for asthma: The combination of a long-acting bronchodilator and an inhaled corticosteroid is the most effective treatment available to asthmatics. Combination medicines provide patients with better control and are easy to use.

Top allergy and immunology advances selected by Michael A. Kaliner, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC; Medical Director, Institute for Asthma and Allergy, Chevy Chase, Maryland.

For more on the use of biologics in allergy and immunology, read here.

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