Numerous allergists and specialists involved in allergy medicine perform allergy testing. The decision to pursue immunotherapy treatment varies a lot from one specialist to another. Immunotherapy is a form of treatment in which small, regular doses of an allergen are administered to a patient to change the course of his or her allergies. This is pertinent to respiratory allergies such as an allergy to pollen, trees, birch, grass and ragweed or to house dust mites, cats, and dogs among others. The treatment aims to develop tolerance to a specific allergen by changing the way a person’s immune system responds to such allergens. Highly effective in the treatment of allergies, immunotherapy can only be administered after proper allergy tests have been performed.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) injections have been the traditional way to deliver immunotherapy. However, this effective allergy treatment is in fact rarely used for several reasons:
• The fear of needles in many patients,
• The difficulty of finding a physician to administer the shots,
• The logistical challenges of weekly visits over a long period of time,
• The risk of severe allergic reaction.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) – which consists in placing tablets or drops under the tongue – is simpler, more efficient and safer than subcutaneous immunotherapy.
Simple, safe and effective
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) – which consists in placing tablets or drops under the tongue – is simpler, more efficient and safer than subcutaneous immunotherapy. SLIT offers efficient management and control of allergy symptoms that are unaffected by antihistamines and nasal topical steroids and can directly impact the evolution of respiratory allergies, particularly in children, even when symptoms are mild. As a result, sublingual immunotherapy is considered a favourable alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy.
Most people with allergies experience the progression of one form of respiratory allergic disease (allergic rhinitis: sneezing, nasal congestion; or allergic conjunctivitis: itchy and watery eyes) to new forms that trigger reactions in the lungs with asthma, causing coughing, sibilant wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
Studies show that immunotherapy prevents the development of new allergies or asthma in people with respiratory allergic disease. Immunotherapy is associated with long-term benefits far beyond the treatment period. In most patients with allergies who were treated with sublingual immunotherapy for a three-year period, the beneficial effects lasted years after discontinuation of treatment.