Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) allergy treatment

A private Allergy –ENT medical clinic in Quebec - 4 October 2016

Allergies are now recognized as a world-wide societal problem but particularly so in economically advanced nations where nearly 30% of people suffer one form of allergy or another. Essentially one person in 4 suffers respiratory allergies. Sneezing, stuffy and runny nose in addition to itchy eyes and asthma may make life miserable, interfere with proper sleep as well as school results and workplace efficiency. Not to speak of millions and millions paid each year to try to deal with the symptoms of respiratory allergies.

Allergy shots are one way to change the course of allergies but the inconvenience of weekly doctor visits for the administration of the vaccine, the mandatory 30 minutes of medical observation afterwards incase of a bad reaction and, obviously, the shot itself have made for a treatment mostly reserved for more difficult cases of respiratory allergies.

The good news is that this old view of the treatment of respiratory allergies can now change. Sublingual immunotherapy which involves the daily administration of a tablet or allergen drops under the tongue, achieves essentially the same goal of inducing immune tolerance but with a safety profile such that the treatment can be carried out in the comfort of the home with virtually no impact of the patients’ busy lives.

Studies have shown that sublingual immunotherapy is better at controlling respiratory allergy symptoms than antihistamine medications and topical nasal steroid sprays. It also reduces the risk of a patient developing further respiratory allergies and complications such as asthma. Sublingual immunotherapy has been used extensively in Europe where it was developed in thee 1980’s and is now used in more than 30 countries world-wide.

Whether it is a child who’s “allergic career” is just beginning or an adult confronted to nasal allergy-related sinusitis, the option of sublingual immunotherapy can now offer hope of prolonged relief and a return to their usual activities. Getting rid of one’s loved pet is not necessarily the only option anymore. Each case being different, it is important to seek a thorough assessment with a specialist experienced with sublingual immunotherapy.

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