oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - An evidence-based approach to atopic patients : evidence-based pharmacy practice
Patients prone to IgE-mediated allergic reactions are said to be atopic. Historically, atopic dermatitis (eczema), asthma and allergic rhinitis have been termed the "triad of atopy", although this association has recently come into question. Type I hypersensitivity reactions underlie all atopic and many allergic disorders, and are associated with elevated immunoglobulin E levels. Atopic hypersensitivity disorders exhibit a strong familial or genetic predisposition, although symptoms are induced by exposure to specific allergens. These antigens are typically environmental (e.g. respiratory allergy to pollens, grass or house dust) or foods (e.g. allergy to shellfish). Common clinical manifestations include hay fever, asthma, eczema and urticaria. Many sufferers have immediate reactions to skin tests (injection, patch or scratch) using the offending antigen. Different treatment options are available, including avoidance, antihistamines, corticosteroids, mast cell stabilisers and desensitisation therapy.
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