Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is also referred to as “allergy drops.”
What are allergy drops?
Sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy is an alternative method of treating 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 therapy.”
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 allergy drop 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 allergies.
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.