If you suffer from allergies, you are probably quite familiar with the route to your allergist’s office and you’ve likely spent more than a few hours traveling to and from appointments for allergy shots. What you may not be familiar with is an alternative treatment option called sublingual immunotherapy, which achieves the same results as allergy shots, but offers numerous advantages.
Sublingual immunotherapy, also known as allergy drops, is an ideal treatment for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, asthma or food allergies. With the fall allergy season right around the corner, now is an opportune time for individuals who have pollen and mold allergies to reevaluate their treatment options.
In this blog, the physicians at Sinus Center of Atlanta will explain how allergy drops work, tell you what you can expect if you decide to pursue this treatment and describe the advantages of sublingual immunotherapy over allergy shots.
How Do Allergy Drops Work?
Like allergy shots, allergy drops involve a controlled exposure over an extended period of time that alters the body’s immune response to antigens (allergy-causing substances), effectively reducing or eliminating allergic symptoms. The only difference is in the way that the treatment is administered. Sublingual immunotherapy involves the patient placing liquid drops beneath his or her tongue, usually once per day. While most patients choose to administer the drops at home, you can use them in any environment. This makes allergy drops an ideal, portable solution for those who cannot endure allergy shots or prefer to avoid frequent office visits.
Most patients who consistently take their allergy drops on a daily basis start enjoying reduced symptoms within 3 months or less. However, the full benefit of allergy drops is usually achieved after three years of treatment. After that time, the patient is retested to see if they are no longer allergic. Once that is achieved, therapy can be discontinued.
Are There Side Effects to Using Allergy Drops?
Unlike with some other allergy treatments, there are no significant side effects that occur from using allergy drops. The worst possible response is a very mild itch beneath the tongue, which typically goes away in a short amount of time and does not require medical attention.
Shots vs. Drops: The Advantages of Allergy Drops
While allergy drops have been used throughout Europe for decades, they haven’t become a mainstream offering in the United States until more recently. With this convenient treatment option now available, allergy sufferers are flocking to allergy drops because of their numerous advantages.
Here are some of the key reasons to choose drops for allergy treatment:
- No more allergy shots – Drops are especially appealing to those who can’t tolerate or do not respond well to allergy shots. This is particularly the case for infants and children, asthmatics, patients who are needle phobic as well as individuals with multiple allergies or chronic conditions (such as sinusitis).
- Safe and effective – Studies have proven that allergy drops are both safe and effective years beyond the date when treatment ceases.
- Fewer office visits – Using allergy drops eliminates the need to frequently visit the doctor’s office for shots, which means big savings on time and effort, not to mention travel costs.
- Easier to stay compliant – Because allergy drops are convenient and easy to administer, patients are more likely to remain compliant. Studies show that patients taking allergy drops tend to stay with their treatment 90 percent of the time.
- No risk of an anaphylactic reaction – Research has shown that severe reactions with sublingual immunotherapy, including the risk of anaphylaxis (throat swelling), are significantly less common than they are with allergy shots.
It’s also worth noting that another one of the basic advantages of allergy drops is that this treatment option actually targets the root cause(s) of your allergy problem, rather than merely addressing your symptoms.
Get Started with Allergy Drop Treatment in Atlanta
Getting started with allergy drop treatment is simple. In fact, most patients only need to visit the Sinus Center of Atlanta a handful of times in the first year once treatment has begun. From then on, one return visit every 6 to 12 months is typically all that’s involved. Eventually, patients will no longer need to make any appointments once their allergy symptoms are fully controlled using this treatment.
Whether you’re experiencing allergies, asthma, sinus infections or nasal obstructions, you will benefit from a consultation at the Sinus Center of Atlanta. To learn more about allergy drops or to schedule your allergy evaluation to find out if you’re a candidate for this treatment option, fill out our convenient online scheduling form or call our office at (770) 991-2800.