Sublingual Immunotherapy

When medical treatments don’t work, allergies are often treated with immunotherapy. This involves introducing the allergen substance that causes a reaction to your body in small doses over time, so you’ll build up immunity. The traditional method has involved injections (allergy shots), but an oral alternative known as sublingual immunotherapy is becoming increasingly common.

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The Benefits of Sublingual Immunotherapy

Allergies are an exaggerated immune system response to a substance the body perceives as a threat. If the trigger substance is introduced in regular small doses, the immune system will become less sensitive to it, and your body will build up a tolerance. This should translate to a reduction in symptoms.

First, the allergen responsible for your symptoms will need to be identified through an allergy skin test. Then a liquid extract of the substance is prepared for daily use. The drops should be held under your tongue for a minute or two, and then swallowed. While effective in the long run, it takes a good three to five years for the majority of patients to develop a tolerance to the allergen.

Why Choose Sublingual Immunotherapy?

Most allergies are treated with medications initially. Decongestants and antihistamines can help manage symptoms, especially when they occur seasonally as with hay fever. But drugs don’t always help; when they don’t, sublingual immunotherapy often proves beneficial. Advantages include ease of use, the ability to self-treat at home, higher compliance rates, and less chance of experiencing side effects or allergic reactions.

To determine if sublingual immunotherapy is right for you, talk to your doctor.