Sublingual Immunotherapy Resources
Sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops under the tongue) is sweeping the nation as a “new” alternative to allergy shots. ENT Carolina is on the forefront of this technology and we bring a wealth of experience that is unmatched in our area. Dr. Reiber was providing sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) to his patients for more than a decade. This therapy is not really “new”, but has gained popularity based on the success that has been seen in Europe and the U.S. Our special expertise allows us to offer patients the finest, most advanced allergy care with experience you can trust.
SLIT is a painless, convenient, affordable way to receive allergy desensitization in the comfort of your own home. No more time and expense of weekly office visits, and best of all, NO MORE SHOTS!
After a brief allergy test (30-60 minutes), you can begin therapy. You administer the drops under your tongue once a day, holding them for 2 minutes, and then spit them out. Escalation takes 12 weeks and maintenance therapy 3-5 years. Results may be seen in as little as 6 months. SLIT helps decrease dependency on allergy medications, and decrease allergy symptoms and side effects such as sinus infections, asthma exacerbations.
Side effects are very rare but may include tingling in the mouth or upset stomach. There have been three reports of anaphylaxis world-wide and none have been severe or fatal. SLIT is considered to be many times safer than allergy shots.
The antigen extracts used to prepare SLIT are identicle to that used for injection immunotherapy. Currently the Food and Drug Administration does not have an indication for these extracts for sublingual administration. This is an off-label use for these medications. Off-label use of medications is very common in organized medicine and estimates have been made that up to 50% or more of all medication use in the U.S. is off label. Studies are underway in the U.S. and the FDA is reportedly in the early stages of considering a sublingual administration indication for antigen extracts.
SLIT is not covered by insurance at this point and is an out of pocket expense for patients. Patients often find that the cost for SLIT is still less than injections when co-pays, deductibles and the time and expense of weekly office visits for injections are considered.
The following are some links that further explain and define SLIT:
- About.com: Allergies This article is a general overview of SLIT
- SLIT reduced medication use and symptoms of allergic rhinitis
- Recent review of SLIT effectiveness in adults
- Americian Rhinologic Review
- Allergy Drops for Asthma