What is subcutaneous immunotherapy and how does it work?
Subcutaneous immunotherapy, also called allergy shots, is a treatment for allergies that involves injecting small amounts of allergen extracts under the skin over a period of several months. It works by gradually exposing the immune system to small amounts of allergens, which helps it build up tolerance to the substances that trigger allergies.
For which allergies is subcutaneous immunotherapy effective?
Subcutaneous immunotherapy has been found to be effective in treating allergies caused by environmental allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander.
What are the potential side effects of subcutaneous immunotherapy?
The potential side effects of subcutaneous immunotherapy include local reactions such as redness, swelling, and itching at the injection site and systemic reactions such as hives, asthma, and anaphylaxis in rare cases.
How long does it take for subcutaneous immunotherapy to be effective?
Subcutaneous immunotherapy typically takes several months to several years to be effective, depending on the individual and the severity of their allergies. It is important to continue the treatment for the full duration recommended by the doctor. Most people are on subcutaneous immunotherapy for 3-5 years.
Is subcutaneous immunotherapy a cure for allergies?
Subcutaneous immunotherapy can help reduce the severity of symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with allergies. Allergy immunotherapy is a long-term allergy treatment.
What are the requirements to start subcutaneous immunotherapy?
Before starting subcutaneous immunotherapy, patients must see an allergist and undergo skin testing or blood testing to identify the specific allergens causing their symptoms. They must also have a clear medical history and physical exam to ensure they are suitable candidates for the treatment.
Can subcutaneous immunotherapy be administered at home?
Subcutaneous immunotherapy should be administered in a medical setting under the supervision of a healthcare professional. This is because there is a risk of severe allergic reactions and the need for immediate treatment in case of an emergency.
How long do the effects of subcutaneous immunotherapy last?
The effects of subcutaneous immunotherapy can last several years after the treatment ends. However, some people may experience a gradual return of their symptoms and require booster injections to maintain the benefits of the treatment. The effectiveness of subcutaneous immunotherapy is dependent on completing the full treatment plan based on your doctor’s recommendations. Stopping treatment early can reduce the length of benefits.
What is the difference between subcutaneous immunotherapy and sublingual immunotherapy?
Sublingual immunotherapy is an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy that involves placing allergen extracts under the tongue using allergy drops or tablets instead of injecting them under the skin. Comparison studies show that allergy drops, tablets, and shots are all equally effective. Sublingual immunotherapy is a popular alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy since it can be safely taken from home and doesn’t require frequent trips to the doctor’s office or injections.