Unlike most allergy drugs — which only treat symptoms temporarily — sublingual immunotherapy addresses the underlying cause of allergies. Allergy drops are given under the tongue in gradually increasing dosages until you develop a tolerance to the allergy-causing substance.
How do allergy drops work?
Sublingual immunotherapy, also called allergy drops, works like allergy shots by gradually helping your body build tolerance to the substance(s) that cause your allergies. The difference is that the antigen (allergy causing substance) is placed under your tongue in a liquid drop form and affects the immune system through very specialized cells found there.
This area under the tongue is called the sublingual mucosa, and has the highest concentration of antigen/allergen presenting cells found anywhere in the body. This cell, called the dendritic cell, is the messenger that delivers antigens to the cells that enable allergy tolerance. By delivering daily allergy drops consistently to this cell, the body begins to tolerate things that cause allergic reactions.
Patients take allergy drops three times each day for three to five years, though some patients with more severe allergies or who don’t adhere to treatment plans may need longer treatment. Many people feel better within a few months, but sticking with the treatment is necessary to help stay symptom-free after allergy drop treatment is determined complete by a physician.
What are the advantages of allergy drops?
Allergy drops can be used to treat patients of all ages safely and effectively. There are other advantages to allergy drops including:
- Treats the cause of your allergies, not just temporary symptoms. The goal of allergy drops is to help you build long-term tolerance to your allergens so ongoing treatment and medication is no longer needed.
- Affordable and convenient. Compared to other therapies, allergy drops are less expensive and require fewer office visits. And you can take your drops where and when it’s most convenient for you (work, school, sports practice, vacation, etc.).
- Less medication. Patients report, and research shows, that allergy-related medication use typically decreases after using drops, resulting in savings and less medication.
- Better quality of life. The end benefit of allergy drop treatment is feeling better and enjoying life with fewer related hospital and clinic visits, and less time lost from work and/or school.
Who can benefit from allergy drops?
Although most people with allergies can benefit from allergy drops, they’re especially ideal for those who can’t tolerate or don’t respond to allergy shots, as well as those who are unable to commit to allergy shot therapy. These people include:
- Infants and children*
- People with highly sensitive conditions
- Those who are needle phobic
- Those with chronic conditions including sinusitis
- Those with food and mold allergies
- Those with multiple allergies including dust, pollen, foods, and animals
*Allergy drops have proven helpful for children with eczema and frequent ear infections, which often have underlying allergic causes. Research shows that many children with untreated eczema and allergies often develop asthma and other chronic conditions later in life, so treating them early can have life-long benefits and may prevent development of other allergies and asthma.
Are allergy drops safe and effective?
Allergy drops have been used around the world for more than 100 years, and numerous studies show that allergy drops are safe and effective. Dosing levels and how the drops are given are safe enough to effectively treat infants, children, and people suffering from chronic conditions that previously made them unable to get immunotherapy via shots.
In fact, the World Health Organization had endorsed sublingual immunotherapy as a viable alternative to allergy shots.
The Cochrane Collaboration, the world’s most-trusted international organization dedicated to reviewing healthcare treatments, concluded that allergy drops significantly reduced allergy symptoms and the use of allergy medications. In 2013, the Agency for Healthcare Quality Research published a review that examined studies which used both sublingual and subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shot) treatments. Reviewers found sufficient evidence to support the effectiveness and safety of subcutaneous and sublingual immunotherapy for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. For more information about research studies, visit https://www.allergychoices.com/research/.
Contact us to find out if allergy desensitization is right for you!