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Review shows avoiding dust mite allergens does not cut symptoms

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Chemical and physical methods of reducing exposure to house dust mite allergens have not been recommended by a Cochrane review.

The authors based their conclusion on the review of 54 trials that studied mite-control measures versus a placebo or no treatment. Thirty-six trials assessed physical methods, 10 assessed chemical methods and eight a combination of both. No evidence of an improvement in symptom scores or a reduction in the use of medication was found as a result of these interventions. The authors said that many of the trials were of poor quality and were doubtful that similar studies would be worthwhile.

John Collard, Allergy UK’s clinical director, disagrees with the review’s findings. He states that current guidelines, including NICE guidelines on managing eczema and British Thoracic Society guidelines on asthma, mention the importance of identifying and avoiding allergens. He adds that, in practice, when treating patients with allergies, it is known that these measures do improve symptoms.

Cochrane Database (2008) DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001187.pub3

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