If you suffer from allergies, and medical treatments fail to bring relief, you might benefit from immunotherapy. Traditionally delivered subcutaneously – through injections in the skin – immunotherapy helps your body build up a tolerance to the allergen responsible for your symptoms. Sublingual immunotherapy relies on drops that are taken orally, rather than on allergy shots, to deliver the same benefits.

Benefits of Sublingual Immunotherapy

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Allergies are a result of the immune system overreacting to a substance it perceives is a threat by flooding the body with histamines, chemicals that cause a runny nose, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms. Often, they can be managed successfully through the use of medications and by incorporating lifestyle changes. But these methods aren’t always effective, and some people continue to suffer. Patients like these often turn to immunotherapy for long-term relief. Sublingual immunotherapy is delivered via allergy drops rather than shots, a more convenient method that allows individuals to treat themselves at home.

Once your doctor identifies the allergen trigger that is causing your symptoms, an extract of the substance will be mixed in a vial; the drops are to be placed under the tongue and taken orally on a daily basis, in gradually escalating doses. Once the “maintenance phase” has been reached, you will take the same dose of drops every day for a specific period of time. Eventually, your body will become used to the offending substance, and build up a tolerance to it. This will reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

Sublingual immunotherapy is a long-term solution that won’t work overnight. It takes anywhere from three to five years for the body to build up a lasting immunity to a substance. While the FDA hasn’t officially approved the use of sublingual immunotherapy yet, it has been proven safe and effective, and the World Health Organization has endorsed it as a viable alternative to traditional injection immunotherapy.

If you have tried other treatments without success and would like a long-term solution to your ongoing allergy issues, speak to your doctor about the benefits of sublingual immunotherapy.

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Further Reading

Johns Hopkins Sinus Center