Allergen Immunotherapy, or “allergy shots,” are injections or ‘under the tongue’ (sublingual) drops, given to reduce a person’s sensitivity to allergens and is the only measure that offers a “cure” for allergies.
Immunotherapy can help many people with allergic rhinitis. In children, immunotherapy can help prevent developing allergic asthma later in life.
Allergy shots are only available for common allergens. These shots contain solutions of the allergens to which a specific person is allergic, and are made up individually for each person. The process of immunotherapy changes the person’s immune response to the allergens over time. As a result, being exposed to the allergen causes fewer or even no symptoms.
Shots would be a good option for patients whose symptoms are hard to control with other medications, those who have a hard time avoiding certain allergens, and those with year-long symptoms or severe symptoms. Patients must be able to follow the program plan to receive allergy shots.
Immunotherapy is started by our allergy specialist. Treatment begins with several months of weekly doses of gradually increasing concentration, followed by monthly maintenance doses. Immunotherapy is usually administered for a minimum of one year, and maintenance may be advised for 3 to 5 years.