Sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops).
Sublingual immunotherapy, aka SLIT, is a method for treating allergies where drops of an allergen solution are placed under the tongue. SLIT can be as effective as traditional allergy shots, but without the needles. Popular in Europe for 30 years, SLIT is catching on in the US and is now available at The Allergy Clinic. After allergy skin testing, The Allergy Clinic creates custom drops for your specific allergy triggers. These drops are composed of the same FDA-approved allergen extracts that we use to make allergy shots. At home, on a daily basis, patients place a prescribed number of drops under their tongue. After two minutes, the drops are swallowed. Treatment involves a short build-up phase where drops increase in number and strength, followed by a maintenance phase that lasts for three to five years.
Advantages of SLIT are that it is safe enough to take at home, saving lots of travel time, gasoline, and clinic visits; the lack of needles make SLIT much easier for young children (and many adults) to tolerate; and SLIT is great for people who travel frequently.
Disadvantages of SLIT are limited to the fact that insurances companies consider it an “experimental treatment”; thus, they won’t pay for it. Still, the cost is significantly less compared to a lifetime of allergy medications and numerous office co-pays, not to mention how much better you’ll feel. We cannot perform Rush with SLIT, so the time to relief is longer with drops than with shots. Even though SLIT is not FDA approved, it is Safe, Effective, and Legal.
Are all allergy drops equal? No! Don’t confuse SLIT as practiced at The Allergy Clinic with the low potency drops given by some “bootleg allergists” and ENTs. While low-dose SLIT has been used for years, its value has never been shown to be higher than placebo. In other words, a sugar pill has an equal chance to provide the results you get from the bootleggers.