Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is emerging as an alternative to Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT).
Most recently it has been approved for grass and ragweed, but there have been few studies comparing the head to head efficacy. A recent trial was done for grass allergic patients receiving SCIT and SLIT.
The patients were observed through 15 months and they underwent regular immunologic testing and nasal provocation challenges.
At 15 months both treatment groups (SLIT and SCIT), showed significant immunologic changes compared to placebo, changes were seen between 1-3 months. For most parameters though, SCIT was twice as large as SLIT, which one would infer that SCIT works better than SLIT. Although this difference seemed to diminish over time.
SLIT is an effective form of treatment for allergic rhinitis, but SCIT seems to show a larger improvement.
We are now offering sublingual immunotherapy in our practice. We are working with a compounding pharmacy in the local area who will be providing the sublingual drops to our patients. Sublingual immunotherapy can be given for tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen, dust mites, cat dander, dog dander and molds. We are happy to be able to provide this for patients who do not want to do allergy shots. Sublingual immunotherapy or as some others have called it, allergy drops are an effective way to treat allergies. The first dose is usually administered in the allergists office and the patient is observed for 30 minutes. The patient then is able to take the vials home and administer it themselves according to the schedule provided. There usually is a build up phase that lasts several weeks, then the patient is on a maintenance dose which they take daily. Allergy drops has been around in Europe for many years, but it recently has only been approved in the United States in the form of sublingual tablets, Oralair, Grastek and Ragwitek.
If you are interested in sublingual immunotherapy for other allergens, please contact our office today. If you are interested, ask your allergy doctor or allergist if you will be receiving a high enough dose to achieve tolerance. Other practices may offer allergy drops, but not reach a high enough maintenance that limits its efficacy. If you are interested in sublingual immunotherapy, you should only see a board certified allergist who can properly give you the correct dosage. An allergist is a doctor who completes a fellowship program in allergy and immunology. A board certified allergist also passes an exam given by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and completes yearly Maintenance of Certification requirements. Always make sure your doctor has the right credentials.