Allergies & SLIT therapy
Seasonal Allergies and Allergy Drops: What to know about Sublingual Immunotherapy
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) aka allergy drops are an alternative approach to treating allergies without injections. Similar to allergy shots, it works by providing a person with small doses under the tongue of their allergen to allow the body to increase tolerance or immunity to the allergens. SLIT drops are helpful for treatment of allergic nasal and eye symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.
Many published scientific studies have shown that SLIT significantly reduces allergy symptoms. A recent study review of published studies showed positive evidence allergy drops are safe and effective for treatment for allergic rhinitis.
Allergy drops offer a more comfortable daily option compared with allergy shots. Patients take the drops in the convenience of their own homes daily instead of weekly doctor office visits for shots. The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed sublingual immunotherapy as a viable alternative to injection therapy.
Sublingual immunotherapy has even been found to be effective for younger individuals. They are very safe, for both adults and children.
At a medical visit, the doctor will determine if you are a candidate for SLIT drops. If SLIT drops are a right fit, then you will be evaluated to determine your individual allergic triggers through blood or skin testing. Then, a custom-mixed vial of drops is prepared which typically takes 1-2 weeks. You will be taking drops under the tongue daily. During the first four months, called the escalation phase, the dosage is gradually increased. After that, in the maintenance phase, the you will take the same dose of drops each day.A doctor will see you once or twice per year to monitor your progress. We recommend that patients continue use of SLIT drops for 3-5 years while their body works to develop lasting immunity.
Most insurance plans will not cover sublingual immunotherapy. It is considered an FDA “off label” use. It is important to note that sublingual immunotherapy may be a more economical choice when compared to the cost of allergy shots. Sublingual immunotherapy drops cost approximately $2 per day on average.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) can be very beneficial for individuals with allergic disease, such as seasonal allergies and allergic asthma could be considered for sublingual immunotherapy. Those with severe asthma may need to be closely monitored during treatment as sublingual immunotherapy may worsen asthma symptoms.
Young children have shown to tolerate allergy drops and can benefit from the convenient at home treatment.
Pregnancy women can continue taking allergy drops during pregnancy but need to avoid starting allergy drops while pregnant.