Sublingual Immunotherapy ( SLIT)
What is sublingual immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy treats the cause of allergies by giving small doses of what a person is allergic to, which increases “immunity” or tolerance to the allergen and reduces the allergic symptoms. Unlike injection immunotherapy, which is given as shots, sublingual immunotherapy is given as drops under the tongue.
How does the process work?
The first step is to confirm a patient’s allergies through the allergy testing. Then, a custom-mixed vial of drops is prepared for the patient. The patient takes the drops under the tongue daily. During the first four months, called the escalation phase, the dosage is gradually increased. After that, in the maintenance phase, the patient takes the same dose of drops each day.
Is sublingual immunotherapy safe?
It is very safe, for both adults and children. Patients take the drops in the convenience of their own homes instead of going to a doctor’s office every week for shots. The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed sublingual immunotherapy as a viable alternative to injection immunotherapy.
Does sublingual immunotherapy work?
Many published scientific studies have shown that it significantly reduces allergy symptoms.
How long must I continue the treatment?
We recommend that patients keep using the drops for three to five years so that the body will build a lasting immunity.
How do I start sublingual immunotherapy?
Request an appointment for allergy testing and evaluation to see if you are likely to benefit from sublingual immunotherapy. If you are, the vials take one to two weeks to mix. Follow-up office visits will be scheduled periodically to monitor your progress. During therapy, when your last vial is half empty, please call our office to order your new vial.
What are the costs? Will it be covered by insurance?
Insurance plans do not cover sublingual immunotherapy. It is considered an FDA “off-label” use. It is important to note, however, that sublingual immunotherapy may be a very economical choice. You will be provided more specific information at your first office visit.