Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is the best alternative method for treating allergies without any kind of injections. A patient is given small allergen dosages under the tongue to enhance tolerance to the allergic substance, and decrease the symptoms.
Firstly, the allergist uses allergy testing in order to check for the sensitivities of the patient. The allergy drops or SLIT can be formulated depending on blood or skin testing. After the formulation is done, the drops are kept under the patient’s tongue for a minute or two before swallowing, where the absorption is the best.
Following this, the drops deliver a gradually increasing dosage of the antigen prescribed by the physician. For those of you who are not aware of what antigen is it is the substance that the patient is allergic to (ex: ragweed, dust mite, tree pollen, cat dander or sawdust). The dosage is assessed depending on the allergen city degree on either blood or skin testing.
Frequency and Duration of Process
The process is normally repeated from 3-7 days to as frequently as once a day, with suggestions that the person continues this therapy for 3-5 years in order to develop a long-lasting immunity.
The allergy drops are utilized in slowly rising doses in such a way that tolerance is developed to the antigen. Over a period of time, antigen tolerance means that the people suffering from allergy are no more presenting symptoms and signs of an allergic reaction. They can lead a life free from allergies over time.
How is it Better than Injections?
Since the allergy drops are easy to use and painless, you need not visit the allergist’s clinic to receive agonizing monthly or weekly injections. Further, this is a cost-effective alternate when compared to allergy shots. Normally, the treatment calls for two office visits per year for dosage optimization and recheck response. Over time, people will start noticing that they are able to breathe easily and so can wean away the allergic drugs that were causing side effects.
As for the associated side effects in adults or children, they are usually mild and local and mostly happen during the early phases of treatment. This may include stomach problems or mouth itching and can normally be managed by adjustments of dosages. International research results show that SLIT is safe for kids less than 5 years as a way to control symptoms of allergy as against injection therapy. Other than this, no serious allergic reactions have been reported due to this treatment. So, it is always recommended to get this prescribed by your allergist after discussing things in detail.
WHO Recommended Substitute to Injection Immunotherapy
The World Health Organization (WHO) has authorized this treatment as a practical substitute method to injection immunotherapy. Primarily, the risks associated with SLIT relate to the treatment nature: it is administered without any kind of direct medical supervision at home. So, patients should get clear guidelines from allergists on how to manage adverse effects and treatment disruptions, and they should know when to consult the allergist.
A majority of surveys and clinical trials prove the sublingual immunotherapy is comparatively effective and safe for asthma and rhinitis treatment. Those who’re currently suffering from allergies are likely to see a great improvement after following this method of treatment in most of the cases.
Author Bio: Peter Fernandez is an allergist at a reputed hospital in the UK. His hobby is to write articles in the same niche as his profession with the aim of educating people about various types of allergic reactions, and their respective treatments.