Immunotherapy is an effective alternative treatment for patients whose allergy symptoms do not respond to medications. Traditionally administered via injections (known as allergy shots), sublingual immunotherapy involves drops instead of shots.
This long-term solution works by introducing small amounts of allergen to the body on a regular basis. Over time, the immune system becomes desensitized, and the patient builds up a tolerance.
How Sublingual Immunotherapy Works
If you suffer from allergies, you’ll undergo allergy testing in order to determine the substance that triggers your symptoms. An extract of that allergen is prepared, and taken orally by placing the drops beneath your tongue. In some instances, tablets are used. You’ll receive a small dosage at first, but this will be increased over time as your immune system adjusts to the allergen and becomes less sensitive. Sublingual immunotherapy requires a long-term commitment; treatment lasts as long as five years, and should not be skipped. But the payoff is worth it for those whose allergies bring constant misery. Symptoms will be dramatically reduced and, in many cases, disappear completely.
Sublingual immunotherapy has a number of advantages over allergy shots. Droplets are self-administered, eliminating the need for frequent visits to your doctor’s office. This saves you time and money. In addition, because no needles are involved, there are fewer side effects or allergic reactions.
Individuals who benefit most from sublingual immunotherapy are those who suffer from allergies to pollen, mold, dust mites, pet dander and insect stings or bites. It generally does not work for food or drug allergies.