If you have allergies, then you are likely all too familiar with antihistamines, decongestants, and even allergy shots; however, what do you know about allergy drops? Allergy drops, or sublingual immunotherapy, is another way to treat allergy symptoms and can be a friendlier alternative to allergy shots.
When you get injectable immunotherapy (allergy shots) this exposes the body to small doses of the allergen to help the body produce the antibodies needed to fight the allergen over time. Instead of injecting the allergen under your skin, your allergist may provide you with allergy drops, which can be taken orally—read on to learn more.
In order to find out if you are right for sublingual immunotherapy, an allergist will need to perform the proper allergy testing. After all, allergy drops are not designed to treat all allergies. Currently, the FDA has only approved allergy drops for four types of allergens:
- Dust mites
- Timothy grass
- Certain grasses
Sublingual Immunotherapy seems to be effective for treatment allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and even allergic asthma.
Getting Sublingual Immunotherapy
One of the major benefits of allergy drops is that it provides the patients with the treatment they need to protect against allergy symptoms from the comfort and convenience of their own home. With allergy shots, the patient has to come into the office regularly for treatment, but a patient can administer allergy drops on their own as directed by their doctor.
Allergy drops come in either a liquid or tablet form. Your allergist will administer the first dose at their office to show you how it should be done. The tablet is placed under the tongue until it dissolves. It’s important that you wait one minute after the tablet has dissolved to swallow and up to five minutes to eat or drink anything. Once the first dose is administered in your doctor’s office, you will receive the drops to administer yourself at home.
In the majority of cases, allergy drops are used every few days for up to three years. If you have seasonal allergies, you’ll begin taking the allergy drops a few months prior to the allergy season and stop the medication once the season ends; however, if you experience year-round allergies, you’ll continue to take these drops all year long. You should start to experience relief from your allergy symptoms within a few months of continued use, with most people seeing a significant improvement in just one year.
Dealing with allergic rhinitis? Need allergy testing to find out if you are allergic to dust mites, grass, or ragweed? If so, an allergist can perform the proper testing and determine whether you are a good candidate for sublingual immunotherapy.