Learn How Shot-Free Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) Remedies Allergies

More than 50 million Americans live with allergies. For some, allergy symptoms are a year-round battle. For others, the dreaded pollen season brings uncomfortable symptoms that affect daily life. Sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, is an innovative, alternative way to treat allergies without injections.

Unlike antihistamines and other allergy medications, immunotherapy is the only treatment that changes your immune system over time so that you become tolerant to the allergen. Besides the benefit of being shot-free, sublingual immunotherapy is much less likely to trigger severe reactions compared with immunotherapy injections.

For our patients battling allergies, we at Family Practice Associates have put together some information about how SLIT can provide relief.

How SLIT Works

Just like conventional immunotherapy with injections, sublingual immunotherapy works by introducing small amounts of the allergen to your body so that you gradually become desensitized to the allergen.

Over time, your immune system learns not to overreact when coming in contact with the allergen, and your symptoms improve.

How SLIT Is Administered

At Family Practice Associates, Pamela Abrams, MD, conducts testing to establish your sensitivities. Once she confirms your allergies, she may recommend a sublingual formulation to treat your symptoms. This is typically in the form of a dissolvable tablet.

When you come in to start sublingual immunotherapy treatment, Dr. Abrams or a member of her team place a small amount of the allergen under your tongue, where you must hold it for a minute or two before spitting out. This allows some of the allergen to enter your bloodstream through the veins under your tongue before you spit out the remainder.

Allergies That Immunotherapy Improves

While SLIT is FDA-approved for treating ragweed and grass pollen allergies, clinical trials show that it is effective for a wide range of environmental allergies. It is also effective for treating rhinitis and asthma caused by allergies to cat dander, dust mites, and tree pollen. And SLIT is being studied for the treatment of food allergies.

SLIT works differently than other medications you may have taken to treat your bothersome allergy symptoms. It does not provide immediate relief. Instead, you build up an immunity over time.

You can expect to see an improvement in symptoms over the first few months of taking immunotherapy.  Nearly 50% of dust mite allergy patients see a reduction in symptoms after four months of treatment.

How SLIT Creates Lasting Immunity

To develop long-term immunity, you typically take a tablet under your tongue based on the recommended frequency. For year-round allergies, such as those to dust mites, it’s typical to take a tablet once a day year-round. For seasonal allergies, like grass pollen and ragweed, the usual dose is once a day starting 12 weeks prior to grass season.

Taking your dose daily helps your body become less sensitive to the allergen. You may need to continue treatment for up to three years. After that, patients typically have lasting immunity to the allergen and no longer need to take SLIT sublingual drops.

SLIT Safety

Sublingual immunotherapy is safe for children and adults. Your first dose is administered at Dr. Abrams’ office so that she and her team can monitor you for any reactions. Serious reactions are rare, but common side effects include an itchy mouth and throat irritation. These side effects typically subside after the first week.

You remain in the office for at least 30 minutes after the initial dose so that Dr. Abrams can respond quickly to manage any symptoms. After that, you take the sublingual drops daily at home and receive clear guidance on how to manage any adverse reactions. Taking your medication becomes part of your daily routine on the path to an allergy-controlled life.

Don’t let allergies interfere with your life. For effective allergy treatment, call Family Practice Associates or book online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Abrams.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Your Best Defense for Staying Healthy All Year Round

Your best defense for staying healthy all year round requires no trip to the doctor's office and costs next to nothing. Yet, few individuals do it on a consistent basis. Learn why this particular practice should be a habit you never want to break.

Is Diabetes in Your Destiny?

By 2050, it is estimated that more than a third of adults in the U.S. will have diabetes. Largely preventable and reversible, read about its etiology and what dietary choices can mean the difference between a diagnosis and years added to your lifespan.