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Allergen Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
Immunotherapy is one of the major breakthroughs in modern allergy treatment. It is called by different names, including desensitization, hyposensitization, and just "allergy shots."
In the immunotherapy process, a series of injections is given of gradually increasing doses of allergen extracts. Only the specific substances to which the patient is allergic are used in the extract mix. These include, most commonly, weed, grass, and tree pollens; dust mites; and mold spores. Each shot given has a bit higher dose than the shot preceding, until a "maintenance" dose is reached. This higher level dose is continued for a period of time - generally one to three years - as allergy symptoms continue to abate.
Partial to complete relief is experienced in about two-thirds of patients. The relief can last for a period of years after the allergy shots are ceased. In some cases the relief is very long term.
A patient who embarks on this therapy should make the commitment to see it through. It is time consuming, and certainly not without cost. Starting immunotherapy, then stopping, then beginning again can be an expensive waste of time.
Before you wave immunotherapy off as being too expensive or too time consuming... do the math. Think about how much you spend in the course of a year on antihistamines, decongestants, analgesics and the like to obtain relief. Then consider how much work you may have missed (or how much leisure time has been wasted!).
Certainly, immunotherapy is not the answer for every patient. Some find relief from occasional symptoms through a treatment program of avoidance measures and prescription medications. But many others sing the praises of allergy shots, when, after taking the injections for a period of time, the desensitization begins to kick in and the allergic response is reduced.
Quick Links to Allergy and Asthma Non-Profit Organizations
The information provided in this Web site is not intended to replace consultation with your physician.
Entire contents © 2016 Ulrich O. Ringwald, M.D. Reproduction in whole or in part without
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