Tags: Health Topics | Allergies | sublingual immunotherapy | pros | cons

Sublingual Immunotherapy: Pros and Cons

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 03:27 PM

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is an alternative for some allergy sufferers who cannot take allergy shots. Like any medical treatment, there are pros and cons to using it that you should understand.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, immunotherapy treats allergies by administering small doses of the substances the patient is allergic to in gradually increasing dosages until the patient builds immunity to them. The conventional method of administering immunotherapy is through injections, but sublingual immunotherapy is administered with drops placed under the tongue.

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There are many advantages to sublingual immunotherapy for some patients. Allergy shots require a weekly trip to the doctor’s office, sometimes for years, where the patient is monitored for possible adverse reactions for 30 minutes following the injection. This can be inconvenient or impractical for many patients.

Because SLIT is less likely to produce adverse reactions requiring medical intervention, therapy is convenient and can be done by the patient at home, says Allergy and Immunology Associates of Michigan. Likewise, patients who travel often can continue therapy as directed without having to locate new physicians in their travel destinations.

For patients who have a real fear of needles, sublingual immunotherapy offers a non-invasive approach.

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Because some patients with severe allergies are often plagued with chronic sinus infections, ear infections, and colds, they are sometimes too sick to receive allergy injections. For these patients, sublingual immunotherapy can be given without interruption, and it is also safe for babies who are too young to receive allergy shots.

Although many clinical studies confirm the relative safety of sublingual immunotherapy, the FDA is still investigating the efficacy and safety, says the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Because of this ongoing work, the FDA considers SLIT to be off-label, and there is some risk in immunotherapy administered at home and without the supervision of a physician.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to SLIT is that because it is considered off-label, insurance plans will not cover it, says Allergy and Immunology Associates of Michigan. The cost of sublingual immunotherapy can be substantial and depends on the length of treatment necessary and the number of vials needed to treat all of the patient’s allergies.

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Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is an alternative for some allergy sufferers who cannot take allergy shots. Like any medical treatment, there are pros and cons to using it that you should understand.
sublingual immunotherapy, pros, cons
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2016-27-15
Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 03:27 PM
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