Systematic reviews have gained popularity as a way to combine the increasing amount of research information. This study assessed the quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) for allergic rhinitis in children, published since 2000. Eligible reviews were identified by searching Medline/Pubmed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library, from 2000 through 2008. Methodological quality was assessed using the assessment of multiple systematic reviews instrument. Ten systematic reviews were included, one of which was published in the Cochrane Library. Eight reviews gave some details about the search strategy. None of the reviews included measures to avoid selection bias. In 60% of the reviews, the methodological quality of the included studies was (partly) assessed. Four reviews pooled the results of individual studies, neglecting clinical heterogeneity. Three of the 10 reviews provided information about sources of funding or grants from industry. Of the 10 reviews, the six reviews with the highest overall score scored 5-8 points, indicating moderate quality. Systematic reviews are useful to evaluate the efficacy of SLIT in children. Although more reviews have become available, the methodological quality could be improved. SLIT for children could be promising, but methodological flaws in the reviews and individual studies are too serious to draw definite conclusions.

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Pediatric Allergy and Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Bot, C., Moed, H., Berger, M., Röder, E., Gerth van Wijk, R., & van der Wouden, H. (2011). Sublingual immunotherapy in children with allergic rhinitis: Quality of systematic reviews. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology (Vol. 22, pp. 548–558). doi:10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01165.x