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    To review allergenic extracts used to diagnose or treat insect allergies, including how the extracts are manufactured and their measurements of potency or concentration. Peer-reviewed articles derived from searching PubMed (National Center for Biotechnology Information) about insect allergies and extract preparation. Encyclopedia of Life ( and were also referenced for background information on insects and associated allergens. Search terms used for the PubMed searches included insect allergens and allergies, Apidae, Vespidae, fire ants, cockroach allergies, insect allergen extract preparation, and standardization. Humans may be sensitized to insect allergens by inhalation or through stings. Cockroaches and moths are predominantly responsible for inhalation insect allergy and are a major indoor allergen in urban settings. Bees, fire ants, and wasps are responsible for sting allergy. In the United States, there are multiple insect allergen products commercially available that are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Of those extracts, honeybee venom and insect venom proteins are standardized with measurements of potency. The remaining insect allergen extracts are nonstandardized products that do not have potency measurements. Sensitization to inhalational and stinging insect allergens is reported worldwide. Crude insect allergen extracts are used for diagnosis and specific immunotherapy. A variety of source materials are used by different manufacturers to prepare these extracts, which may result in qualitative differences that are not reflected in measurements of potency or protein concentration. Copyright © 2017 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Taruna Khurana, Jennifer L Bridgewater, Ronald L Rabin. Allergenic extracts to diagnose and treat sensitivity to insect venoms and inhaled allergens. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. 2017 May;118(5):531-536

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    PMID: 28477785

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