Allergies affect millions of Americans every year. While there are many treatment options available, few are as effective as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). Sublingual immunotherapy is a treatment option that does not require shots, which means that you don’t need to be concerned about the use of needles. Despite being an effective treatment option for allergies worldwide, there are still some restrictions in the United States that prevent it from being recognized.
How Sublingual Immunotherapy Works
The first step in the sublingual immunotherapy treatment process is to administer an allergy test. After an allergist administers the test, you’ll receive a confirmation regarding which types of substances you are most sensitive to. Once the substances are identified, you will be given an allergen extract through droplets or tablet on your tongue. You’ll need to repeat this therapy process for a few days. Eventually, your body will begin to build a resistance and your allergy will disappear.
How Effective Is the Treatment?
SLIT has been a topic of hot debate in the medical community for several decades now. According to the WAO paper, many clinical trials and studies have showed that SLIT is relatively effective in treating allergies caused by things like ragweed, grass, dust mites and etc. In addition, there are some studies out there that are working to determine how well SLIT works on common food allergies. As studies on SLIT continue to progress, it is expected that medical professionals will be able to come up with treatment options that also protect children against the most dangerous and common allergies that they suffer from.
The Risk of Sublingual Immunotherapy
Despite a lack of studies regarding the risks involved with SLIT treatments, there still may be some risks involved. Most individuals who have undergone the treatment process overseas have reported that their experience to be fairly safe. The only issue is that there were a few groups who reported mild side-effects, none of which were too serious though.
Sublingual Immunotherapy and the FDA
In the United States, the most recent progression was in 2014. That year, the FDA approved the first sublingual immunotherapy extract, Oralair, which was used to treat grass and pollen allergies.
Another popular option is Ragwitek from Merck, which is used in our office. Ragwitek is FDA approved and used to treat ragweed pollen allergies that cause sneezing, runny nose and other allergy symptoms. The hope is that sublingual immunotherapy will be able to combat the most common allergy problems not only around the world, but also in the United States.