We Offer Sublingual Immunotherapy at Our Rochester Office, a Highly Effective and Affordable Alternative to Traditional Allergy Treatments
What is Allergy Sublingual Immunotherapy and How Does It Work?
Millions of people suffer from allergies, and many side effects can result, such as itchy eyes, runny nose, coughing, sinusitis and asthma. An allergy is a response of your immune system to allergens such as pollens, dust mites, mold and animal dander.
A Board-Certified Allergist uses skin tests to determine specifically which allergens affect you the most. Controlled exposure to the allergens you are allergic to in increasing amounts and frequency (through allergy immunotherapy) will stimulate a change in the allergic response of your immune system, inducing a natural immunity or tolerance. Over time you will become less sensitive to these allergens. This means that when you are exposed to the specific allergen, you will react less or not at all.
What is Sublingual Immunotherapy (Allergy Drops)?
Sublingual is the medical term for “under the tongue.” Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) (or allergy drops) is one of the most effective ways of introducing allergens, so that your immune system can adjust to these allergens. Allergy drops are placed under the tongue daily. The patient will follow a schedule provided by one of our Board-Certified Allergists. Patients who need treatment, but decide against traditional allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots), may find the allergy drops more suitable to their needs.
Is Sublingual Immunotherapy Right for Me?
Recent studies indicate that allergy drops are an effective method for patients who have allergic rhinitis or asthma due to specific allergens like pollens, dust mites and animal dander. Over a period of time, the treatment can help to desensitize your body’s immune system. This will enable you to have less severe reactions, or possibly no reactions at all. Patients that are on allergy drops will come to our office for a periodic check-up to evaluate their progress. To maintain the effectiveness, most patients may expect to remain on allergy drops for up to 5 years.
Is Sublingual Immunotherapy Safe?
Yes. Sublingual immunotherapy has been the most common form of immunotherapy in Western European countries and has been recently gaining popularity in the United States. In fact, long-term studies in these European countries demonstrate that in some circumstances sublingual therapy works better than traditional shots.
Sublingual immunotherapy uses the same allergen extracts as traditional immunotherapy. The World Health Organization supports this alternative, and sublingual immunotherapy has also been shown to have a comparable limited risk of reactions when compared to shots. The only side effects experienced by some patients are a slight “itching” or “tingling” sensation in the mouth immediately after administration.
Who Can Take Sublingual Immunotherapy?
Children and adults.
Has the FDA Approved Sublingual Immunotherapy?
The FDA is now starting to review sublingual immunotherapy protocols but has not yet formally approved this form of immunotherapy. However, it can be provided as an “off-label” medication by our Board-Certified Allergists.
If I Want to Get Started on Sublingual Immunotherapy, What Do I Need to Do?
You will first need to have an evaluation by one of our Board-Certified Allergists who will perform the formal allergy testing. Patients should stop taking antihistamines such as Allegra, Claritin, Clarinex, Zyrtec, Alavert, Loratadine, Phenergan, and Benadryl for at least two days prior to allergy testing.
At your first visit, you will be given a copy of your allergy testing and a treatment plan will be discussed, including medications, conventional allergy injections and sublingual immunotherapy.
If you are presently being treated at another office for allergies with allergy injections and want to start on sublingual immunotherapy, all you have to do is transfer your medical records, including allergy skin testing results. At your first visit, you will discuss the possibility of starting on sublingual immunotherapy with one of our Board-Certified Allergists.
How Much Will It Cost to Do Sublingual Immunotherapy?
Currently, allergy drops are not covered by insurance companies. Patients are expected to pay for the allergy drops at the time of the visit using either cash, check, or credit/debit card. Generally, it costs roughly $60 per month.
What are the Benefits of Doing Sublingual Immunotherapy?
- No more shots.
- Convenience - Take your allergy drops with you wherever you go.
- If you live far from our office, you save time by not having to come as often.
- It is a safe and effective method for treating specific allergies to pollens, dust mites and animal dander.
Dr. Ringwald and Dr. Czarnecki have determined that it is important to offer patients a safe, reliable, and effective alternative for those who are not good candidates for traditional allergy shots.