People who suffer from allergies that don’t respond to other medical treatments may find relief from immunotherapy, a method of building tolerance to an allergen by introducing it to the body in small doses over a period of time.
Often, it is given in the form of allergy shots. However, sublingual immunotherapy, in the form of drops or tablets, are taken orally. Let’s examine the differences between the two methods as well as their effectiveness and any risks involved.
Sublingual Immunotherapy vs Allergy Shots
While both allergy shots and allergy drops/tablets work as a long-term treatment over several years to decrease allergy symptoms by building up the body’s immunity, there are several key differences as well.
- Are injections that must be performed in a doctor’s office
- May cause swelling at injection site
- May cause sneezing, nasal congestion and hives
- Have a higher risk of more severe reactions like chest tightness and wheezing
- In rare cases, may cause anaphylaxis (which can be quickly treated as the shots are administered in a clinical setting)
- Don’t require a needle.
- Can be taken by the patient in the comfort of their own home.
- Some mild side effects possible, such as itching in the mouth and upset stomach
- Less likely to cause a severe reaction than allergy shots.
Effectiveness of Sublingual Immunotherapy
Allergy drops and tablets have been shown to be effective for treating several different allergies. They have been most extensively tested in grass pollen allergies, but they can also be used to treat allergies triggered by ragweed, pet dander and dust mites.
One study looking at the effectiveness of sublingual therapy on dust mite allergies found that:
- Patients reported significantly fewer nasal symptoms like runny, itchy noses or congestion after 1-3 years of treatment.
- There was a significant improvement in patients who had been experiencing asthma-like symptoms.
Talk to Your Allergist
If you find yourself constantly suffering from allergy symptoms every time you take a stroll through Gordon White Park, call and make an appointment with an allergist to discuss your options. They can run tests and discuss your treatment options to see if sublingual immunotherapy might be right for you.
Currently, this treatment is not an option for people with food allergies or certain other allergic conditions, however, researchers are hoping to expand the treatment’s effectiveness. Here at ENT of Georgia, we remain committed to offering you the best, most cutting-edge treatments to manage your allergies and improve your quality of life.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist, call ENT of Georgia today.