Immunotherapy works by changing the way your immune system recognize an antigen (things that cause you to have allergy symptoms.) Small amounts of antigens are introduced into your body and gradually increased over a period of years. Your tolerance to the antigen increases and allergic symptoms decrease along with the triggers to underlying chronic conditions (asthma, sinusitis…). Antigens can be introduced into your body using either allergy shots or allergy drops. Allergy shots use a hypodermic needle to inject the antigens into your body. Typically, a physician give you one to two shots a week with as many as 36 injections over the first year, then one to two shots a month for 3 to 5 years. Sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy uses allergy drops containing the same antigens that are used in allergy shots and prepared in the same manner. What differs is the way the antigens are delivered. You take allergy drops at home as a liquid held under your tongue and then swallowed. Most patients take three drops each day for 3 to 5 years.
Unlike allergy medications- which treat only symptoms immunotherapy (sublingual or injection) addresses the underlying causes of allergies.
What are the advantages of allergy drops?
Compared to allergy shots, allergy drops cost less and require fewer clinic visits, making them more convenient because you can take them at home.
Allergy drops have also proven to be helpful for some patients, for whom allergy shots don’t work well, including younger children, severely asthmatic patients, and people who suffer from food and mold allergies. In addition, allergy drops can be used to treat many allergies at the same time.
Are allergy drops safe and effective?
Yes, very! Allergy drops have been used around the world for more then 60 years. Over the past several years, scientists have conducted a number of studies demonstrating that allergy drops are safe and effective. In fact, the World Health Organization has stated sublingual immunotherapy as a viable alternative to injection therapy.
In addition, the well respected Cochrant Collaboration, and international organization dedicated to reviewing healthcare treatments, recently published its comprehensive Review of more then 20 allergy drop studies. Cochran’s review concludes that allergy drop immunotherapy significantly reduced allergy symptoms and the use of allergy medications. Additionally, the reviewers found an outstanding safety profile. In our 30 years of experience we have seen good results for patients with few safety concerns, which were easily solved.
In Europe, more immunotherapy is given with drops then with shots in several regions. Over millions of known doses there has never been report of anaphylaxis (real severe reactions), and certainly no deaths. This profile can not be matched with allergy shots where both severe reactions and deaths have and do occur.
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