Which is right for you, allergy shots or allergy drops?
Allergy drops are also known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). Sublingual immunotherapy is an alternative way to treat allergies without injections. An allergist gives the patient small doses of an allergen under the tongue to boost tolerance to the substance and reduce symptoms. These drops can be administered at home. For maximum effectiveness, you will need to start taking the drops at least two months prior to your allergy season(s) and continue daily through the end of the season. If you are not allergic to very many things, or only have one or two bad seasons a year, this might be a good option for you. Unfortunately, because sublingual immunotherapy treatment is considered to be investigational, the extract is not FDA approved for that purpose and is therefore not covered by insurance companies.
Allergy shots are also known as subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT). This method of treatment is covered by most insurance plans. Once patients reach their maintenance dose, initially they will come in once a week to receive their injection(s). Over time, the patient will transition to shots once every two weeks and then to every three or four weeks. We offer three choices for a patient to reach their maintenance dose.
If you choose to follow a standard Immunotherapy regimen, you will come to the office twice a week for about four and one-half months. You will start at the weakest dilution and gradually increase to your maintenance dose. When you reach your maintenance dose, you will initially come once a week for your injections.
Cluster immunotherapy will allow a patient to advance half way through their building to maintenance regimen in less than one day. If you choose to begin your therapy this way, you will only need to come for injections twice a week for about two months. When you reach your maintenance dose, you will begin weekly injections. Warning: not all insurance plans will cover this option.
If you select RUSH Immunotherapy, you will spend two days in our office, receiving an injection every 30 minutes. By the end of the second day, you will have reached your maintenance dose and will continue with weekly allergy injections. Warning: not all insurance plans will cover this option.
After performing allergy skin testing in our office, Dr. Cook will discuss with you the pros and cons of allergy drops vs. allergy injections based on your skin test results and help you choose what is right for you. Whether you choose shots or drops, Dr. Cook will customize your allergy serum based on your skin test results.