Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is also referred to as “allergy drops.”
What are allergy drops?
Sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy is an alternative method of
allergies. Instead of weekly allergy shots, treatment is
performed by placing drops underneath the tongue daily, and at
home. Just like allergy shots, allergens are delivered
in small concentrations to help build your body’s tolerance over
time to your allergies. Allergy drops are administered
at home, underneath the tongue, and without injections.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is ideal for patients whose allergy
symptoms are severe, patients with asthma, children, the elderly, or
anyone who cannot tolerate
allergy injections. The World Health Organization (WHO), along
with much research, has found that allergy drops are an
effective and safe alternative to conventional allergy shots.
Are allergy drops new?
Allergy drops are not a new way of receiving immunotherapy. In fact,
sublingual allergy drop therapy has been used and studied
extensively in European countries for many decades. As many as
50%-75% of allergy patients in Europe have their allergy immunotherapy
as allergy drops instead of allergy injections. Although it has
been practiced extensively in
Europe for over 30 years, the use of SLIT has only recently
started to gain popularity here in the US. The FDA is currently
reviewing the use of sublingual immunotherapy.
Are allergy drops homeopathic medicine?
No. Sublingual immunotherapy is not homeopathy.
The allergy extracts used are from the same manufacturers that are
used for allergy shots. Allergy drops are simply a different way of delivering those same allergens.
Are allergy drops safe and effective?
Yes. Allergy drops are very safe and effective.
The safety and efficacy of SLIT in Europe, has been well proven over
many decades. In 1998, the World Health Organization declared
allergy drops as “a viable alternative to injection
Allergy drops are actually safer than allergy shots. Much
research looking at the incidence of severe reactions with sublingual
immunotherapy has found that SLIT is three times less likely to have a
reaction than conventional
allergy injections. Most importantly, there has never been a
life-threatening anaphylaxis reaction in over 30
years, and over 200 million doses with allergy drops.
Since allergy drops have been proven so safe, they can be self-administered at home.
How are allergy drops given?
Allergy drops are placed under the tongue at home each day.
One vial will last approxiamately 3 months. Afterwards, you will
come in and pick up your next concentration of drops. Like shot
immunotherapy, the complete treatment for your allergies can take
around three to five years.
What are the advantages of allergy drops?
Sublingual immunotherapy allergy treatment is easier for children, severe
asthmatics, the elderly, or anyone who cannot tolerate allergy shots.
Other advantages of allergy drops include: no
injections, no risk of severe reactions like anaphylaxis (throat swelling), the convenience
of home self-administered therapy, improved compliance by adults and
children, and the ability to contiue treatment even while travelling.
Less time is spent in the doctor's office each week waiting to get your
"shot. Compliance with treatment is better with allergy
drops: close to 90% are likely to complete their first year of
therapy as compared to only about 45-50% of patients on allergy
shots. As your symptoms improve on
allergy drops, your required medications decrease.
Allergy drops ultimately save you time and money, while treating your
Are allergy drops covered by insurance?
No. Currently, there is no coverage
by health insurance companies. The cost of treatment is $125 per
vial, which will last you about three months. Depending on
how many different things you are allergic
to, you will need either one or two vials. Some patients have
found allergy drops to be the same cost or cheaper than their co-pays
for allergy shots.