Allergens and antigens are substances that drive an allergy sufferer crazy and they’re hard to avoid. Most allergy drugs only relieve symptoms, such as sneezing or itchy and watery eyes, on a tempory basis, but our team at St. Louis Sinus Center has managed to find a better solution–allergy drops.
What Are Allergy Drops?
Allergy drops, clinically known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), give the allergy sufferer a minimal dose of what he or she is allergic to in the form of a drop or tablet placed under the tongue. Over the course of the patient’s treatments, which can be easily self-administered at home, their dose will be regularly increased in small increments until they develop a tolerance to the substance causing the allergy.
Over 20 years of clinical trials and surveys published, allergy drops have proven to be effective for rhinitis and asthma caused by allergies to dust mites, grass, ragweed, cat dander, and tree pollens. Additionally, they are being studied for use with hay fever and food allergies.
How Do Allergy Drops Work?
After allergy testing, Dr. Gould will prepare an allergen extract in drop or tablet form. Patients will place the drop under their tongue and advised not to swallow immediately. The patient should keep the tablet under the tongue for 1-2 minutes so that it fully dissolves. They then repeat this from three days a week to as often as daily. This therapy continues for 3-5 years during which the patient develops a lasting immunity.
How Do Allergy Drops Compare with Allergy Shots?
Allergy drops and tablets represent a newer form of immunotherapy than allergy shots. The FDA had approved the content of allergy drops before approving them altogether. This changed in 2017 with the first FDA approval of Odactra, the first sublingual treatment for dust mite allergies. Currently, they are proscribed “off-label,” but this is not unusual in the early stages of a drug’s debut. It’s assumed more approvals will follow.
The main difference between the drops and shots, however, is easy. You don’t have to get a shot in the arm with allergy drops. That’s a big one, especially for children. Also, allergy drops can be administered at home after the initial treatment.
Am I A Good Candidate for Allergy Drops?
If you’re allergic to pollens, pet dander, grasses, dust mites, and other typical allergens, these drops could be effective for heading off the itchy eyes and other irritating symptoms.
Benefits of Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy offerings, such as allergy drops, are effective solutions for allergies. While drops may not cover all possible allergens, they cover most. Their approach is to treat the root cause of the allergy, rather than simply dealing with the symptoms. By exposing the patient to the allergen in small doses and gradually increasing the amount over time, the patient’s immunity will continue to build up.
Risks of Immunotherapy drops
The risks of these drops seem to be mostly local and mild. They occur early in the treatment and can include issues such as itching in the mouth or stomach problems. Adjusting the dosages, via a prescription from professional allergist Dr. Gould, seems to curtail these. Very rarely has anaphylactic shock been reported.
Another potential risk of allergy drops is that they are administered at home without direct medical supervision. But, as long as the patient listens to the guidance our office provides on managing adverse reactions and heeds those instructions, the lack of direct supervision doesn’t need to be a big issue.
How Long Does It Take For Immunotherapy Drops to Work?
Immunotherapy drops for allergy relief work best when thought of as a preventative measure. How quickly it takes for the drops to be effective is variable by the patient. Just know that this isn’t an instant remedy for an allergen, such as tree pollen, that you were exposed to yesterday. This is a long-term effort to build tolerance and immunity.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have allergies and want to learn more about immunotherapy or allergy drops, please call 314.473.5433 to schedule a consultation with our experienced team at our office’s in St. Louis and Festus, MO. You can change your life with nose surgery and you can take the first step by speaking with us.