Background: Several acaricides have become available for reducing house dust mite allergen levels. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess whether the use of benzyl benzoate (Acarosan) provides additional benefit to the usual mite control measures including encasement of mattress and pillows with vinyl covers. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was carried out in 26 homes (14 control versus 12 treatment) of asthmatic patients in two cities (Vancouver and Winnipeg). The control group had the usual house dust mite control measures including the use of vinyl covers for mattresses and pillows while the treatment group had application of benzyl benzoate to mattresses and carpets in the bedroom and the most commonly used room, in addition to the above control measures. Mite allergen levels were measured 3 months and immediately before, week, and 1 and 3 months after the application of house dust mite control measures. Patients kept diary cards on asthma symptoms and peak expiratory flow rates morning and evening one month before and three months after the onset of mite allergen control measures. Results: A reduction of mite allergen level was found in mattress samples in both groups, statistically significant at all times in the treatment group and at one and three months in the control group. Mite allergen levels on floor carpets also showed progressive reduction in both groups, but were significantly different in the treatment group (compared with controls) at 1 week, and were lower compared with baseline in the treatment group up to 3 months. No significant changes in asthma symptoms, peak expiratory flow rates, spirometric measurements, or bronchial hyperresponsiveness were observed among treatment or control group subjects. Conclusion: The addition of benzyl benzoate to conventional house dust mite control measures resulted in a significant reduction in floor carpet dust mite levels that persisted for 3 months. The results of this study should be confirmed in a larger and longer study.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
* Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia. † Division of Allergy, Department of Paediatrics, University of Manitoba. ‡ Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Paediatrics, University of British Columbia. § Department of Medicine, University of Manitoba. The study was supported by the National Health and Research Development Program, Health Canada, and the British Columbia Lung Association. Received for publication October 3, 1995. Accepted for publication in revised form February 28, 1996.