Also known as Allergen “immunotherapy” (IT) is the oldest treatment for allergic conditions, first described more than 100 years ago.
There are 3”, primary forms of allergen immunotherapy, subcutaneous (injection) IT, sublingual (under the tongue) IT, and oral (swallowed) IT.
Subcutaneous (injection) immunotherapy, also known as SCIT or “allergy shots”,s the oldest and most familiar approach. SCIT is often used for environmental allergies such as tree, grass or weed pollen, dust mites, or furred animals. SCIT is the only appropriate treatment to prevent stinging insect or venomallergies, and can be considered a life-saving treatment for this very serious condition.
SCIT involves injecting small and gradually increases amounts of the allergen into the fatty tissue in the upper arm, usually every week until eventually achieving a target monthly “maintenance” dose, which has been proven to result in protection against the allergic exposure and long-term benefit in decreasing the allergic response. SCIT has the potential to “cure” an allergy in some cases, with 3-5 years of treatment usually resulting in long-term immunologic benefit
SCIT has a long record of safety and efficacy, however this treatment does carry a risk of anaphylaxis, with as many as 1/6 patients receiving high-dose IT suffering a systemic reaction along the way. Your Snö allergy team has extensive training and experience in determining your need for SCIT, and in the safe administration of such therapy.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a newer approach, common in Europe for the past 20 years, with either drops or dissolvable tablets of allergen placed under the tongue on a daily basis. This has been most commonly used for environmental allergies, including tree, grass & weed pollen, dust mites, and furred animals, and there are currently approved SLIT tablets for grasspollen, ragweed pollen, and dust mites, with even more on the way. SLIT offers the convenience of home dosing, with a very low risk of reaction, and may also have similar long-term immunologic benefits like SCIT.
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is a newer and evolving approach to food allergies. Studies have shown that OIT can be very effective for children with milk, egg, and peanut allergies, and may be able to “cure” a food allergy over time, allowing the child to enjoy a normal diet. While a promising approach for some children, OIT carries a risk for anaphylaxis, and your allergist will help determine if this is an appropriate option for your child.