Proactive vs Reactive treatment for bee and wasp allergies?

What is VIT?

Venom Immunotherapy (or VIT) is a series of injections, often referred to as allergy shots, that help the immune system build a tolerance to insect venom proteins until the body has enough immunity to tolerate a bee or wasp sting.

VIT can diagnose and treat allergies to: honey bee, wasp, white-faced hornet, yellow hornet, and yellow jacket.

Why take a Proactive Approach with VIT?

Epinephrine is the first line of defense for those at risk of anaphylaxis, but it’s a reactive response to an emergency that could be proactively prevented by VIT.

Studies show that patients often forget to carry their auto injectors. It’s been reported that less than 30% of allergy patients carry their epinephrine at all times, putting them at risk for an anaphylactic reaction.12

Studies also show that more than 55% of insect sting patients cannot demonstrate proper administration of their epinephrine auto-injector device. 12

VIT can mitigate the risks associated with patient non-compliance of epinephrine auto injectors. In fact, VIT has been found to be up to 98% effective in preventing systemic allergic reactions to honey bee, wasp and hornet stings. 7

“As a physician you’re trying to help people, and this can be such a helpful intervention…”

What can I do as a Health Care Provider?

Recent data suggests that patients who have sought medical emergency assistance due to insect sting anaphylaxis are not getting information on VIT as a treatment option, or even a referral to an allergy specialist for follow up care. 13

If you want to help BeeAware Allergy educate patients about VIT as a treatment option, you can download our patient education materials (free for you to use). Or refer appropriate patients to an allergy specialist. The physician locator on this site provides a comprehensive list of VIT specialists across the U.S.

For more information or to request complimentary printed materials, contact us.

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1 Ludman & Boyle. Stinging insect allergy: current perspectives on venom immunotherapy. Journal of Asthma and Allergy. 2015:8 Pages 75-86.

2 Jubilant HollisterStier Allergy. Instructions and Dosage Schedule for Allergenic Extracts: Hymenoptera Venom Products

3 Mylan. EpiPen/EpiPen Jr Prescribing Information. Retrieved 2018: https://www.epipen.com/hcp/-/media/files/epipen/prescribing%20information.pdf

4 Posner & Camargo. Update on the usage and safety of epinephrine auto-injectors, 2017. Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety. 2017.

5 Boyle. Epinephrine Auto Injector Use One Year after Training: A Randomized Controlled Comparison of Two Different Devices. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Volume 135, Number 2, Abstracts AB209.

6 Mylan. About EpiPen and Generic Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved 2018: https://www.epipen.com/about-epipen-and-generic/faq

7 Golden. Insect Sting Anaphylaxis. Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America, Volume 27, Issue 2, May 2007, Pages 261-272.

8 T. T. Song, M. Worm, P. Lieberman. Anaphylaxis treatment: current barriers to adrenaline auto‐injector use. Allergy, Volume 69, 2014, Pages 983-991.

9Throughout this site the term “bees and wasps” is used as a generalized description of stinging insects. The complete list of VIT insects include: honey bee, wasp, white-faced hornet, yellow hornet, and yellow jacket.

10 David K. Golden, M. J. (2011). Stinging insect hypersensitivity: A practice parameter update 2011. J. Allergy Clin Immunol, 852-854.e23.

11 U.S. Census Bureau. (2017, July 1). Quick Facts United States. Retrieved from United States Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045217#PST045217

12 Goldberg, A., Confino-Cohen, R. Insect sting-inflicted systemic reactions: attitudes of patients with insect venom allergy regarding after-sting behavior and proper administration of epinephrine. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 106 (6): 1184-1189, 2000.

13 Current state of follow-up care for patients with Hymenoptera venom anaphylaxis in southwest Germany Major impact of early information. Allergo J Int. 2018; 27(1): 4–14. Published online 2018 Jan 16. doi: 10.1007/s40629-017-0046-7.