A controlled study of the effectiveness of the Rinkel method of immunotherapy for ragweed pollen hay fever

Thomas E. Van Metre, N. Franklin Adkinson, Lawrence M. Lichtenstein, Michael R. Mardiney, Philip S. Norman, Gary L. Rosenberg, Anne K. Sobotka, Martin D. Valentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a double-blind study, we compared the effects of the Rinkel method of immunotherapy with ragweed pollen extract and placebo on symptoms of ragweed hay fever and immunologic parameters in 24 ragweed-sensitive patients. Each had a skin-test end point by Rinkel serial dilution titration to ragweed pollen extract at 1:312,500 w/v or greater dilution, a 2+ skin test to ragweed AgE at 0.1 μg/ml or greater dilution, and in vitro leukocyte histamine release by ragweed pollen extract. None had had immunotherapy for at least 7 yr. Patients matched on the basis of leukocyte histamine release by ragweed were assigned to two treatment groups (12 patients in each group). One group received ragweed pollen extract, and the other, placebo, both administered by the Rinkel method between June and October, 1978. Treatment doses were derived from skin-test end points. The median maintenance ("optimal dose") for patients receiving ragweed pollen extract was 0.53 ml of 1:312,500 w/v and the mean cumulative dose of ragweed pollen extract given during the study contained 0.094 μg of ragweed AgE. Symptom-medication scores of all patients rose and fell with ragweed pollen counts. No significant differences were observed in mean daily symptom-medication scores, antiragweed IgG or IgE levels, leukocyte histamine release by ragweed, total IgE levels, or skin-test end-point dilutions with ragweed pollen extract between the group receiving ragweed pollen extract and the group receiving placebo. Despite the absence of specific effect on symptom-medication scores and measured immunologic variates, 10 of the 12 ragweed-treated patients and 10 of the 12 placebo-treated patients were of the opinion that their hay fever symptoms during the ragweed pollen season were less severe in 1978 than in 1977 and that they had been helped by Rinkel method immunotherapy. Under the conditions of the study, Rinkel method immunotherapy with ragweed pollen extract was no more effective than placebo given in an imitation of the Rinkel method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-297
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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