Millions of people struggle with sneezing, coughing, and wheezing due to seasonal allergies, while some struggle with these symptoms all year round. For many, allergies are more than slightly irritating, they can be downright debilitating. In a lot of cases, sublingual immunotherapy can help. Sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT is the use of specially formulated allergy drops that desensitize your system and offer significant relief without the use of injections or antihistamine medications.
We’ve found sublingual immunotherapy to be very effective in our patients who struggle with chronic allergies. A major benefit of sublingual immunotherapy is that sometimes the effects of the treatment are long-lasting.
What is Sublingual Immunotherapy? What to Expect
Sublingual immunotherapy has been used in other countries for many years. In fact, this is often the preferred way to treat allergies over injections. Sublingual immunotherapy drops are created specifically for your individual allergies in a compounding pharmacy that specializes in SLIT. SLIT treatments have an excellent safety and efficacy record. Sublingual immunotherapy is often preferred over injectable shots because of their ease of use and convenience.1
If you are struggling with allergies and think sublingual immunotherapy might be useful to you, we’ll first perform an allergy test to confirm your sensitivities and specific allergies. After an allergy test, you are prescribed sublingual immunotherapy with compounded drops. Drops are simply applied under your tongue where they are absorbed. SLIT is administered daily versus weekly for injections.¹
Drops are most commonly administered at home three times daily. How treatment needs to continue is dependent on your individual degree of allergic response and is determined on an individual basis. Some of our patients repeat this therapy only for a year, while others need it for several years.
The good news is there are no injections and sublingual immunotherapy is easy and effective.
Benefits of Sublingual Immunotherapy
This therapy is effective for people with allergic rhinitis, asthma, and other related conditions. Sublingual immunotherapy has been used for decades to alleviate common allergy symptoms associated with ¹
- Pet Dander
- Dust Mites
In our office, we are also seeing the benefits of sublingual immunotherapy in people with other related conditions, including food allergies. We are also finding sublingual immunotherapy is effective for allergy-related skin conditions such as mild eczema.
Sublingual immunotherapy can help alleviate common symptoms of allergies, including:
- Red, itchy eyes
- A runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Rashes and skin conditions
- Digestive issues
Another major benefit of SLIT is it can help reduce your allergy symptoms permanently. Some people use SLIT to reduce acute symptoms, but it may also make your reaction to a particular allergen less significant over time.
This is why we use sublingual immunotherapy at Vine Healthcare – because we are always looking for treatment solutions that have a lasting impact by addressing the root cause. In the case of allergies, we can potentially address the underlying reaction of your overactive immune system by building up your body’s tolerance to an allergen.
Sublingual Immunotherapy vs. Allergy Shots
Both sublingual immunotherapy and allergy shots are considered to be effective in treating allergies. How well they work for an individual depends on that person’s immune system. Both sublingual immunotherapy and allergy shots have been shown to improve allergic reactions and symptoms long after the treatment is administered, and in some people, they can have long-lasting effects.
Keep in mind both treatments are only effective against the allergen that’s contained in either the shot or the drops. Allergy treatment is prescribed to specifically address your personal allergy test profile. Both the shot and the oral forms are not meant to be used in treating all allergies.
Sublingual immunotherapy has a more favorable safety record than allergy shots. It is extremely unlikely to have an anaphylactic reaction to SLIT but this is not true of shots. This is likely due to the fact that the drops are absorbed through the mucous membranes as opposed to injected directly into the bloodstream.
Severe allergic reactions are a relative risk of all allergy treatments, which is why you should always perform your first SLIT treatments in the presence of a doctor who has a prescribed epinephrine auto-injector on hand.