Allergy Drops (Sublingual Immunotherapy)
We also offer a second option of allergy treatment in the form of Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT, or Oral Drops) that patients can administer themselves under the tongue at home. Sublingual Immunotherapy is a good option for certain patients. To see if you would be a good candidate for this type of therapy; please make an appointment to see Dr. Reid or Janel PA-C today!
What are allergy drops?
Sublingual immunotherapy is a method of treating allergies by placing drops underneath the tongue. Similar to allergy shots, a set amount of physician-dosed antigens are placed under your tongue to help your build your body’s tolerance over time. The difference is that allergy drops are administered at home, and without injections. Allergy drops are ideal for patients whose allergies are terrible, those who have bad asthma, the young or elderly, or anyone who cannot tolerate allergy shots, and for people who travel a lot. Research has found that allergy drops are an effective and safe alternative to conventional allergy shots.
Are allergy drops new?
Though seemingly revolutionary, it is not a new route of receiving immunotherapy. Sublingual drop therapy has been used and studied extensively in Europe for many years. Some studies say that as many as 50%-75% of allergy patients in Europe have their allergy immunotherapy in the form of drops instead of shots. Although utilized in Europe for many decades, the use of allergy drops has only recently started to gain popularity in the United States.
Are allergy drops safe and effective?
The safety and efficacy of allergy drops has been proven in Europe for over 30 years. In fact, the World Health Organization has endorsed allergy drops as “a viable alternative to injection therapy.” The safety of sublingual immunotherapy has also been studied. Research has shown that severe reactions with sublingual immunotherapy are three times less common than with conventional allergy injections. Furthermore, there has never been a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction with allergy drops in over 30 years, and over 200 million doses.
How are allergy drops given?
Allergy drops can be given for both environmental allergies (ie. hay fever, seasonal or perennial allergies) or certain food allergies. They are self-administered at home, once daily. Approximately every three months, you will be asked to pick up your new vial(s) at the next treatment concentration. Like allergy shots, the complete immunotherapy treatment course averages about 3-5 years.
What are the advantages of allergy drops?
Besides making allergy treatment easier for children, severe asthmatics, the elderly, or anyone who cannot tolerate allergy shots, there are other advantages to sublingual immunotherapy. Some of the advantages of allergy drops include: no needles or injections, decrease of anaphylaxis (throat swelling), the convenience of self-administering the treatment at home, improved compliance by children, and portability during travel. Compared to allergy shots, there are fewer office visits and time spent waiting for your allergy injection. Many patients feel that the convenience of taking the drops with them when they travel has helped their compliance with their allergy treatment. Just like allergy shots, as your symptoms improve on allergy drop therapy, your need for medication decreases. The end benefit is less time in the office, less money spent on medication, and the convenience of allergy drops at home.
Are allergy drops covered by insurance?
No. While the safety and efficacy of allergy drops for immunotherapy has already been proven in Europe, the FDA has yet to approve it in the United States. Currently, the option of sublingual immunotherapy has not been approved for coverage by health insurance. The cost of treatment to go on Sublingual Therapy is broken down below:
Building up on SLIT Costs:
When starting SLIT, you will have a total of three vials total to start building yourself up to maintenance from a lower concentration working daily to reach your maintenance dose. The cost would be $157.60 flat fee for each kit.
Once you have reached your maintenance dose the cost per monthly maintenance per vial is $99.84. This vial can last you anywhere from 1-1.5 months depending on if you missed any doses. Two maintenance vials is $199.68.