If you’re one of the 100 million Americans who suffer from allergies, you’ve likely tried all kinds of treatments, and while they may alleviate your symptoms to some degree, you’re ready for a deeper treatment that addresses the underlying cause of your allergies.
If this describes your situation, you may be ready for sublingual immunotherapy, an innovative method of treating your allergies without needles.
Dr. Sherwin Hariri and our team at Beverly Hills Allergy in Beverly Hills and Glendale, California, specialize in treating patients through immunotherapy. Here’s our best information on how sublingual immunotherapy can work for you.
What is immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy for allergies involves exposing your system to small, increasing amounts of an allergen over time. This helps your immune system build up a tolerance to an allergen, which reduces or even completely gets rid of your symptoms.
Immunotherapy most often comes in the form of allergy shots, but it can also come in the form of sublingual drops or tablets that go under your tongue.
Once Dr. Hariri determines what specific substances you’re allergic to through allergy testing, he’ll recommend a formulation of allergy drops or tablets that can be placed under your tongue.
You hold them there for a minute or two before swallowing — the drops and tablets contain small amounts of the allergen that enter your bloodstream through the veins underneath your tongue.
How long does SLIT take to be effective?
If you have year-round allergies, you’ll likely take the drops once a day throughout the year. If your allergies are seasonal, such as ragweed or grass pollen, it works best to start your dosage 12 weeks before pollen season.
You won’t notice improvement immediately — it takes time for your body to adjust to the presence of the allergens and build up immunity. You’ll likely see a decrease in your symptoms within the first few months, but it can take up to three years for full effectiveness.
Dr. Hariri administers your first dose in our office so our team can watch for any adverse reactions. The advantage of sublingual treatment (as opposed to shots) is that you can take the drops every day at home instead of having to come to our office for treatment.
Depending on your specific allergy, tablets may be a better sublingual treatment; Dr. Hariri evaluates your situation and recommends the best treatment option. The only forms of SLIT currently approved by the FDA are tablets for ragweed and grasses.
If you’re interested in pursuing sublingual immunotherapy as a treatment option for your allergies, our team at Beverly Hills Allergy will be glad to help. Set up an appointment at our office nearest you today by phone or book online.