Sep 16, 2021
Sublingual Allergy Immunotherapy: What Does It Mean To Get Long Term Allergy Relief?
4 minute read
If you’ve been suffering from seasonal allergies for years, it’s time to finally find a treatment that works.
At Cleared, we’re big fans of immunotherapy, an allergy treatment method that slowly works to lower your immune system’s sensitivity to the triggers of your symptoms. Everyone’s seasonal allergies are caused by a unique combination of specific allergens, and immunotherapy targets these allergens and helps your body build up a resistance to them.
There are multiple types of immunotherapy – namely, sublingual and subcutaneous. These terms might be unfamiliar, but we’ll make sure you’re well-acquainted with them by the end of this article. In this post, we’ll be focusing on sublingual allergy immunotherapy, also known as immunotherapy tablets. This form of immunotherapy treatment is taken orally, eliminating the need for visits to an allergist’s office for shots.
Have we piqued your curiosity? If so, keep on reading. We’ve got plenty of information to cover about immunotherapy, and it’s worth knowing for any long-term allergy sufferer.
The Root Cause of Seasonal Allergies
If your allergy symptoms flare up in certain environments, times, or circumstances, you’re likely reacting to specific allergens like pollen, dust mites, or mold. These common allergy triggers can be found indoors or outdoors, and they’re often more abundant at certain times of the year. For example, pollen counts are typically highest in the spring as trees release their pollen. That’s why springtime is often a rough few months for seasonal allergy sufferers!
Everyone’s allergies are different, and you might have worse symptoms at a point when your friends are starting to improve. That just means your friend is more sensitive to a different allergen. For some, spring is the most challenging season for allergy symptoms because of tree pollen. For others, it’s fall, a time when weed pollen is everywhere.. For others still, it’s winter (and usually all year around), when indoor dust mites are feeding on dead skin and hiding in sheets, carpets, and upholstery.
Getting Tested: Find Out What’s Triggering Your Symptoms
If you aren’t sure what’s causing your seasonal allergies, the best place to start is a test. At Cleared, your allergy testing procedure starts with a blood sample, which you can collect at home and send to a lab for analysis. After your sample has been thoroughly analyzed, your test results can then be evaluated by an allergist.
With the help of your allergy test results, an allergist can set you up with a tailor-made treatment plan that targets the allergens causing your symptoms.
At Cleared, our treatment plans comprise a combination of daily support supplements, relief medication, and immunotherapy treatments. Depending on your allergy triggers and the severity of your symptoms, our allergists may recommend either prescription or over-the-counter treatments to get the relief that you need.
Getting an allergy test is the best way to set yourself up for a successful immunotherapy treatment plan. An allergist needs to know the root causes of your symptoms to determine which immunotherapy medication is best for you, so we highly recommend starting your treatment journey by getting a test!
Now that you know the causes of seasonal allergies and the first steps to take towards successful treatment, let’s talk immunotherapy. What is it? How does it work? Let’s find out.
Immunotherapy is a unique allergy treatment strategy that is the closest to an allergy “cure” that we currently possess. While immunotherapy can’t always eliminate allergies completely, successful long-term treatment makes life much easier for allergy sufferers. In many cases, consistent immunotherapy can even reduce the need for other prescription or over-the-counter medications like antihistamines and anti-inflammatories.
The Types of Immunotherapy
As you’ve learned, there are two types of allergy immunotherapy – subcutaneous and sublingual. Let’s briefly explore both and cover the key differences between them.
Sublingual immunotherapy is the form of immunotherapy that Cleared offers. This treatment method involves placing a tablet under your tongue that contains small traces of the allergens that trigger your symptoms. The dose with sublingual immunotherapy tablets stays the same throughout treatment.
To make sure that the treatment goes smoothly and to insure there are no negative effects, an immunotherapy treatment is typically overseen by an allergist.
Your allergist will monitor you for around 30 minutes after treatment with your first dose to make sure that you aren’t experiencing any negative reactions. After your first dose goes well, the rest of your treatment can be taken from home without a doctor monitoring you.
Sublingual immunotherapy is considered safe, and it’s an FDA-approved treatment method for allergies. However, the best way to stay safe while undergoing immunotherapy treatments is to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is an alternative to immunotherapy tablets. These shots are administered weekly for several months, building up the desired maintenance dose which will continue for up to three to five years.
In some cases, an allergist will recommend a faster increase in doses to inoculate your immune system to allergens.
However, this treatment method doesn’t always work well for some allergy sufferers, as it involves a lot of exposure to allergens that cause symptoms. While it can take a long time, it’s often best to get allergy shots with small increases in dosages.
- As with sublingual immunotherapy, your doctor will keep an eye on you for about 30 minutes after each shot you receive. This monitoring period serves to make sure that your shots don’t cause any serious negative reactions. In the rare event of an anaphylactic reaction, your doctor will administer an epinephrine shot to get you relief.
What Immunotherapy Treatments Does Cleared Offer?
Our allergy immunotherapy treatment options are ideal for anyone with allergies to dust mites, grass pollen, or ragweed pollen. These common allergy triggers are responsible for a large portion of seasonal allergies.
All of the immunotherapy treatments that we offer are sublingual, not subcutaneous. Offering only immunotherapy tablets allows us to set you up with a long-term treatment strategy that you can use from the comfort of your home..
Does Immunotherapy Work?
Immunotherapy can have a significant impact on your allergy symptoms in the long run. By minimizing your need for daily relief medications, immunotherapy treatments can also reduce the amount of money that you spend on allergy management each month. That’s a big perk of the treatment for many allergy sufferers. Wouldn’t you love to get to a point where you don’t have to pick up another bottle of antihistamines every month?
In addition, immunotherapy is one of the only treatment strategies for allergies that targets the root cause, not just the symptoms. While relief medications like antihistamines and anti-inflammatories can help you feel better, you’ll continue to need to take them indefinitely as long as your allergies persist.
On the other hand, immunotherapy can eventually eliminate the need for an allergy management strategy, period. While this isn’t always the case, it’s worth a shot!
Who Is Immunotherapy For?
Immunotherapy is a great option for anyone with severe seasonal allergies consistently present for at least three months of the year. In addition, if your allergy symptoms significantly mess with your ability to live well and enjoy your life, it’s worth it to explore this method of treatment.
In addition, immunotherapy is an excellent option for anyone with common allergy triggers. These include mold, dust mites, roaches, pet dander, grass, trees, weeds, and other pollen sources. However, if you have food allergies or are allergic to certain medications, you’ll need to take a different approach to manage symptoms and finding treatment.
To figure out if immunotherapy is right for you, take this quick quiz. It’s free!
Are There Any Cons of Immunotherapy?
Just like any treatment method for allergies, immunotherapy isn’t for everyone. Before starting treatment, it’s a good idea to know the potential drawbacks of immunotherapy and make an informed decision about whether it’s right for you.
Immunotherapy takes time. With subcutaneous immunotherapy you will need to commit to going to a doctors office weekly until you reach your maintenance dose and then monthly for up to 3-5 years. With sublingual immunotherapy you will. need to take a tablet daily for 3-5 years depending on the treatment option you are placed on. Before starting treatment, make sure you’re ready to commit the time!
There’s a small risk of a severe reaction. It’s not at all common, but both types of allergy immunotherapy can cause an anaphylactic reaction in very rare cases. Because of this, your doctor may prescribe you an auto-injectable epinephrine shot, which you can use in the unlikely event of a reaction.
You might experience mild discomfort after treatment. Severe reactions are uncommon, but you still might deal with some allergy symptoms as you undergo treatment. Any reaction you experience is due to the presence of allergy triggers in the treatment itself. Reactions include itching and mild swelling.
Overall, immunotherapy is a safe, effective, and accessible treatment method for allergies. The pros definitely outweigh the cons with this form of allergy treatment, and we highly recommend it for anyone with seasonal allergies to grass pollen, ragweed pollen, or dust mites.
To learn more about getting immunotherapy from Cleared, click here.
Reviewed by Dr. Payel Gupta
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