Sublingual Immunotherapy Allergy Drops
What is Sublingual Immunotherapy?
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is an alternative way to treat allergies without injections. Rather than receive a shot at the doctor’s office, patients place small doses of an allergen under the tongue at home to boost tolerance to the substance and reduce symptoms.
Who’s a candidate for Sublingual Immunotherapy?
Allergy immunotherapy is used to help allergic patients who cannot tolerate or get adequate relief from traditional allergy medications. Any patient with allergies is a candidate for sublingual immunotherapy. Often times sublingual immunotherapy patients prefer the convenience of using the drops at home rather than make regular doctor’s office visits for shots.
What are the benefits of allergy drops?
- They are done at home on your schedule
- No weekly doctor’s visits
- No shots – Great for kids!
What types of allergies can be treated with sublingual allergy drops?
Generally, each allergy drop/tablet is used to treat a single allergen. Currently, four allergens can be treated with sublingual immunotherapy:
- Timothy grass
- Dust mites
- A combination of five grass species
How long does it take for SLIT allergy drops to work?
Your allergy symptoms should begin to improve within a few months of starting on allergy drops but getting full benefit may take a year or more. These are not instant treatments; they gradually build resistance in your body to the intended allergen.
Most allergy drops will need to be taken every three to seven days for three years. By that point, most patients have no or only minimal allergy symptoms in the fourth year. From there, some patients continue without symptoms indefinitely, but most patients will need to start another course of allergy drops after two or three years because their symptoms return.
As for initial results, most of our sublingual immunotherapy patients begin to show improvements within a few months of starting on the allergy drops.
Is SLIT safe?
There have been many clinical trials and surveys over the last 20 years that have shown sublingual immunotherapy to not only be safe, but also as clinically effective as traditional allergy shots.
Are there any SLIT allergy drop side effects?
Side effects most often occur during the first week of treatment. Many are usually mild. Side effects include:
- Throat irritation
- Itchiness of your lips, the inside of your mouth, or of your ears
- Sores on your tongue or in your mouth
- Swelling of your tongue or the inside of your mouth
More rarely, patients may have nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. There is a very remote risk of anaphylaxis, which is a serious allergic reaction that requires medical intervention. These are the symptoms of anaphylaxis:
- Shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
- Fast or irregular heart rate
- Throat swelling
- Loss of consciousness
Because of the seriousness of the above symptoms, we also prescribe self-injecting epinephrine for sublingual immunotherapy patients, as a precaution.
Is Sublingual Immunotherapy allergy drops covered by insurance?
Despite being approved and successfully used in Europe, the FDA has not approved the use of allergy drops in the U.S., so their use is considered “off-label.” This means insurance companies will not cover their cost.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you’re interested in learning more about SLIT allergy drops please contact us for a consultation with Dr. Daneshrad at 310.453.6500 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.
We proudly serve patients from Santa Monica, Torrance, Los Angeles, and surrounding areas, including Brentwood, Malibu, Culver City, Marina Del Rey, Venice, Pacific Palisades, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Palos Verdes.