Immunotherapy is the process of giving an allergic patient small calculated doses of the things that they are allergic to (allergens). As the dose is slowly increased the body begins to build tolerance to those allergens.
Immunotherapy can be provided either with shots or with sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).
Benefits of immunotherapy
- Can markedly reduce allergy symptoms and decrease the need for multiple allergy medications
- Often can reduce or eliminate the most common allergy symptom: fatigue
- Immunotherapy truly makes the body less allergic: allergy testing after immunotherapy has been performed will result in decreased or absent reactivity
- Immunotherapy shot doses are calculated based off of allergy testing results
- Immunotherapy shots are usually begun weekly
- Allergy shots are performed in the office to assure maximum safety
- Symptom relief often begins within 1-3 months
- Shots are given year-around to build the body’s tolerance, even if the allergies are seasonal
- Over time the shots can be spaced out to every other week and then to every third week and every month
- Most patients require immunotherapy for 3 years or more to build lasting benefit
- Some patients may be able to stop shots after 3 or more years with a lasting benefit, others may need to continue immunotherapy long-term to maintain a benefit
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)
- SLIT is administered through drops or dissolvable tablets placed underneath the tongue
- SLIT can be performed at home administered by the patient or parent
- SLIT has been extensively performed in Europe and has been found to be a safe and effective alternative to shots
If you are interested in immunotherapy, please call 503-257-3204 or request a visit online with us.
American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. One Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314-3357, 1-703-836-4444
American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, 11130 Sunrise Valley Drive, St. 100, Reston, VA 20191