What is Sublingual Immunotherapy and Who Can Benefit?

Allergy symptoms are often managed with over-the-counter medication. However, this approach does not achieve the best results for every person. When medication does not sufficiently control allergy symptoms, a specialist may recommend immunotherapy. Historically, immunotherapy has been referred to as allergy shots. It is important to recognize the value of sublingual immunotherapy as well. Given as drops under the tongue, sublingual immunotherapy may be an excellent alternative to injections.

How Sublingual Immunotherapy works

The first step in prescribing any form of immunotherapy is to perform allergy testing. Immunotherapy is a customized protocol developed around the needs of each patient. Sublingual immunotherapy is custom-mixed in a vial of drops that the patient can use daily as directed. For approximately 4 months, the dosing of drops increases gradually. Once a target dose is achieved, it is maintained daily for a period. The process is safe for adults as well as children.

Who Can Benefit from Sublingual Therapy?

Sublingual immunotherapy can be an excellent allergy treatment option for the following populations:

  • Infants and children, for whom injection therapy may be traumatic. Sublingual immunotherapy may be beneficial for young patients with recurrent ear infections or eczema. These conditions often have underlying allergic causes.
  • Asthma patients may experience a reduced need for asthma medications through sublingual immunotherapy.
  • People with chronic sinusitis, which may be triggered by a mold allergy. Treating the underlying allergy to mold may reduce the incidence of sinusitis.
  • Patients with multiple allergies, such as molds, dander, pollen, and various foods. Sublingual immunotherapy can address all allergies simultaneously.
  • Highly sensitive patients who are prone to systemic reactions or are needle-phobic may obtain the improvements they desire with sublingual immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy Offers Significant Benefits

Where allergy medicine can be used to ease symptoms when allergies flare up, the purpose of immunotherapy is to decrease the body’s immune response to offending allergens. Studies suggest that immunotherapy, whether with drops or shots, can also reduce the likelihood of new allergies developing in the future.

The St. Louis Sinus Center provides allergy testing and treatment solutions that work for a wide variety of patients. For more information or to schedule your visit, call 314-450-7720.

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