The use of allergen-specific IgE tests in general practice

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INTRODUCTION: In Denmark, diagnosing and treating allergy is mainly performed by general practitioners (GPs), but precise expectations of the GPs are not described in guidelines. Furthermore, very little is known about GPs’ use of allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE) tests. The aim of this study was to describe the use of these tests in the Central Denmark Region. METHODS: We performed analyses on data from all sIgE tests ordered by GPs in the Central Denmark Region in 2015. A test was considered positive if the serum level of IgE was ≥ 0.35 kU/l. RESULTS: Serum levels of sIgE were determined in 26,129 patients, equivalent to 2% of the Danish population. A total of 106,237 tests were performed, the majority as part of screening algorithms for inhalant and food allergens. Screening was ordered 20,697 times for inhalation allergens and 12,999 times for food allergens. Additionally, a considerable number of tests for antibiotics (n = 4,407), insect venom (n = 748) and other allergens were performed (n = 824). Positive rates were determined for various allergens in relation to gender and age. The rates were generally higher than rates known to be present in the background population. A higher percentage of females than males was tested. However, positive rates were generally lower in females than in males. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first descriptive analysis of the use of testing for sIgE in general practice. Results from this study may be used to optimise how GPs order and interpret sIgE tests in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA5566
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Volume66
Issue10
ISSN1603-9629
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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