Sublingual immunotherapy is an alternative way to treat allergies without using injections. The immunotherapy treats the cause of the allergies by giving a small dose of what the person is allergic to (allergen) as drops under the tongue. This gradually increases the natural immunity to the allergen(s) and reduces the allergic symptoms. Allergens include tree/grass/weed pollens, dust mites, animal danders, and various molds. Allergy immunotherapy treats the underlying cause of the allergic reaction, while medications, like antihistamines and nasal sprays only treat the symptoms. As the treatment progresses, the patient’s allergy symptoms are reduced and the need for allergy medications is lessened or, often, eliminated.
First, the patient’s allergies are determined through allergy testing. Next, a custom-mixed vial of drops is prepared for the patient. The patient places the drops under his/her tongue daily. During the first 4 months, called the escalation phase, the dosage is gradually increased. Then, in the maintenance phase, the patient takes the same dose of drops each day.
SLIT is very safe for both children and adults. Patients take the drops in the convenience of their own home instead of going to a doctor’s office every week for shots. The World Health Organization has endorsed SLIT as a viable alternative to injection immunotherapy. It is important to note that when compared to the cost of allergy shots, SLIT may be the more economical choice.
You can learn more about SLIT by using the link to a video provided below: