Allergy Drops: Sublingual Immunotherapy
Today nearly 60 million Americans suffer from allergies-or roughly 20% of the population-yet less than 3% of allergic individuals are currently undergoing immunotherapy (the only treatment that changes your underlying allergic disease instead of temporarily treating symptoms).
Injection immunotherapy is an effective treatment, yet many allergy sufferers are not willing or able to consider this treatment. Sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops, is an off-label use of the same antigens used in allergy shots.
What is sublingual immunotherapy?
Unlike most allergy drugs-which treat only symptoms-sublingual immunotherapy addresses the underlying cause of allergies. Allergy drops are administered in gradually increasing dosages until the patient develops a tolerance to the allergy-causing substances.
Who should take allergy drops?
Although most allergy sufferers can benefit from allergy drops, they are especially ideal for people who cannot tolerate or do not respond to allergy shots, as well as people who are unable to commit to allergy shot therapy.
Are allergy drops safe? Is there research validating their effectiveness?
Allergy drops have been used around the world for more than 70 years, and numerous studies validate both the safety and effectiveness.
I've heard that allergy drops are not approved by the FDA. Is this safe?
The antigens used in allergy drops are the same FDA-approved antigens used in allergy shots. They're also prepared in the similar way as allergy shots. The difference is the route of administration-a dispenser that delivers a drop of antigen under the tongue versus a syringe injecting antigen into tissue.
Currently, antigens are labeled by the FDA for use through injections. Using them for sublingual immunotherapy is an off-label use of an FDA approved biologic, which is both legal and highly common.
What are the ingredients?
Each prescription is a custom solution for each patient according to the type and severity of allergy. Drop prescriptions contain concentrates of the allergen the patient is found to be allergic to upon testing. The antigens are put into a glycerin solution for stability.
How long will I need to take my drops?
Most patients take allergy drops each day for three to five years, but it varies according to the severity of their allergies, seasonality, and how compliant they are with treatment.
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