Many physicians are incorporating sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) into their practice because it provides a practical alternative to traditional allergy treatment options like antihistamines and corticosteroids. SLIT is easy to deliver and yields long-lasting results. It can also reduce the amount of medications the patient must take over time.
Immunotherapy vs. Antihistamines & Corticosteroids
Allergy medications such as antihistamines and corticosteroids are designed to temporarily suppress allergy symptoms. As soon as a patient stops taking the medication, it stops working. Allergy and asthma sufferers will require these medications for the rest of their lives to enjoy relief from symptoms.
In contrast, the process of immunotherapy desensitizes or “re-educates” the body’s immune system so that it does not overreact to allergens from natural exposure, thereby reducing/eliminating allergy symptoms and the need for allergy medication. Sublingual immunotherapy includes an escalation, or build-up, phase in which the allergy drop dosage gradually increases until it reaches an effective therapeutic dose, and a maintenance phase in which the effective therapeutic dose is maintained and continued.
SLIT vs. Allergy Shots
Sublingual immunotherapy and allergy shots are safe and effective methods of allergen immunotherapy.
An obvious advantage of SLIT is that it is painless and does not involve injections. This is an important consideration for individuals, particularly children that are intolerant of shots. It is much easier to convince a child (and certain nervous adults) to take a few drops underneath their tongue than to sit still for the uncomfortable prick of a needle. Also, allergy drops can be self-administered by the patient at home, while allergy shots should always be administered under physician supervision.
The advantage of SLIT versus allergy shots also include a superior safety profile, better patient adherence due to convenient home-based dosing, and lower cumulative costs to the patient.
|Delivery||Spray Under Tongue||Syringe/Injections|
|Safety||Safer than Shots||Very Safe|
|Convenience||Self-administered by patient||Office visit required for every shot/dose|