Immunotherapy

The first step in treating allergies is an accurate diagnosis. Charleston Allergy & Asthma’s allergists are each boarded in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology for both Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. They are experts in identifying what is causing your symptoms and recommending a treatment plan that will significantly improve your quality of life.

There are a number of excellent treatment options available for people who suffer from seasonal and year-round allergies. For some, medications may work, however, they only treat the symptoms. Another option, allergy immunotherapy, is the only disease modifying treatment for allergy sufferers.   There are three types of allergy immunotherapy:

 

Allergy Shots

These are a series of injections that help control and reduce allergy symptoms. Allergy shots are not a medication, but rather a natural approach to increasing your tolerance towards what you are allergic to.

How do they work?

Allergy shots work by injecting you with the allergens that are causing your allergic symptoms. By gradually increasing the appropriate, effective doses of your allergy extract, your body develops an immunity and/or tolerance, thereby reducing or even eliminating your allergic symptoms.

Allergy Shots Occur in Two Phases:

Build-up Phase:

involves a routine series of injections with increasing amounts of allergens. Frequency of injections generally ranges from one to two times a week with an average duration of 3-6 months.

Maintenance Phase:

begins when the effective allergy extract dosage is reached and the body begins to increase its tolerance. Patients transition to treatments that range from every one to four weeks. For some patients there are options for reaching Maintenance Phase sooner. Speak with your allergist to see if you are a candidate for Cluster.

No appointment is necessary to receive allergy shots. 

However, we do require you to remain in the office for 30 minutes after receiving your shot to make sure you do not experience any adverse reactions.

Are they effective?

Recent research has clearly shown the effectiveness of allergen vaccine immunotherapy (allergy shots) for allergic rhinitis. It is also highly effective for stinging insect allergies. Allergy shots suppress the underlying allergic response providing long-term relief. Studies also demonstrate that allergy shots significantly reduce health care use and costs among children and adults with allergic rhinitis (hay fever). The National Institute of Health reports that 85% of people with allergic rhinitis will benefit from allergy shots within the first year, lessening their symptoms and need for medication. Additional research shows that children who receive allergy injections are less likely to develop asthma.


Allergy Tablets

These are another form of oral immunotherapy and have recently been approved by the FDA for use in the United States. These fast dissolving tablets are placed under the tongue and work to help the body build tolerance to allergens through consistent exposure. They are currently available for patients with specific sensitivities (ragweed or grass), but may help even those with multiple pollen allergies or those who also suffer from indoor allergies.


Allergy Drops 

These are a series of liquid drops placed underneath the tongue containing traces of your specific allergens. Allergy Drops are not FDA approved and are not covered by insurance making them an out of pocket expense to patients. They are administered at home and the effective doses are still being studied. Once there is evidence of effective doses we will look into recommending this therapy. Also being studied are whether mixes of oral allergens (allergy drops) benefit or retract from the outcome.

Contact one our board-certified allergy specialists today to determine what treatment option is best for you.