How Are SCIT and SLIT Allergy Immunotherapy Different?

Updated
Updated

Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) was the first type of allergy immunotherapy. Commonly referred to as allergy shots, this therapy involves regularly injecting an extract containing trace amounts of an allergen, like pollen, under the skin over months to years. This therapy allows the immune system to become desensitized to the allergen and stop reacting when it’s exposed.

A newer form of allergy immunotherapy, sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), operates under the same principle, although it provides an easier way of administration. With SLIT, patients take doses under the tongue, either in tablet or drop form.

SLIT is the future of allergy care for patients. It requires fewer doctor visits and has a less invasive method of administration than injections. Currently, there are FDA-approved SLIT tablets for ragweed, grass, and dust mites, yet these medications treat each allergen separately. For those with multiple allergy triggers, allergy drops may be the appropriate choice, as they can treat multiple allergies at the same time.

Is Sublingual Immunotherapy Effective?

Sublingual immunotherapy has shown, again and again, that it is effective at reducing environmental allergy symptoms. A 2013 systematic review of current scientific research showed evidence supporting the effectiveness of SLIT in treating allergies and asthma. A 2016 literature review in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found sublingual immunotherapy effective at providing allergy relief. The review recommended the decision between injections and SLIT be based on patient preference. The American Academy of Otolaryngologic Allergy recommends at-home sublingual immunotherapy treatments as a safe, at-home alternative to allergy shots.

In a study comparing allergy drops for dust mites against three medications (leukotriene receptor antagonists, oral antihistamines, and intranasal steroids) and a placebo, the SLIT therapy worked better than other medications. The study found SLIT effective for patients allergic only to dust mites in addition to those who had multiple allergies, including dust mites.

Can I Treat Multiple Allergies with SLIT?

Yes, if taking allergy drops, you can treat all of your environmental allergies at once with sublingual immunotherapy. At Wyndly your allergy doctor will identify key allergens based on your at-home allergy test results as well as your allergy history.

Are The Medications Safe?

Several studies have tested the safety of SLIT in children and adults, all of which have shown that the chances of a systemic allergic reaction are extremely low. Local reactions can occur with treatment initiation, but this reaction is expected and has no long-term consequences.

How Do I Know if SLIT Is Right for Me?

If you think you could benefit from SLIT, it’s time to take action. Take our easy online assessment to determine if sublingual immunotherapy could be a solution to your environmental allergies. A life free from allergy symptoms may be closer than you thought possible!

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