30. September 2011 11:42
Anti-bee or wasp venom treatment Pharmalgen has been recommended in preliminary draft guidance by NICE.
It has been recommended as a treatment option for those who have had a severe systemic reaction to being stung or a moderate reaction with additional complications.
Professor Peter Littlejohns, Clinical and Public Health Director at NICE, says Pharmalgen is an “effective, preventative treatment”.
Less than 0.5% of the population in the UK who are stung by a bee or wasp experience a severe reaction, known as anaphylaxis. Each year in the UK, up to nine people die as a result of anaphylaxis.
Pharmalgen works by gradually increasing doses of the allergen by injection, which over a period of time, desensitises a person with the allergy by altering their immune system. It is carried out in two phases: the first initial phase after a sting and the maintenance phase which last for three years.
“The reactions that some people experience to stings from bees and wasps can be distressing, frightening and sometimes life-threatening,” said Professor Littlejohns. “People who have had a serious reaction to a sting can often experience extreme anxiety about possible future stings, and this can affect their daily lives.”
Final guidance is now expected to be issued to the NHS in February next year.