Sublingual Immunotherapy AKA Allergy Drops: An Update

  • Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT for short) is a lesser-known form of allergy treatment, similar in concept to allergy shots, but given in a less invasive manner. The way it works is that serum containing tiny amounts of allergens that you are allergic to are placed under the tongue (sublingual) in liquid drop form. The aim is to lessen your severity to these allergens over time by constantly exposing you to them in safe amounts.

     

    I first posted about this subject two years ago (you can read my Sublingual Immunotherapy Q&A post here). At the time, I posed the question as to why the United States FDA had not yet approved this proven to be safe therapy that has been in wide use in Europe for decades.

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    I am happy to report that within the next few months, we expect the FDA to finally approve two types of SLIT for those of us who live in the United States. They will be in tablet, rather than drop form, but you will still dissolve the tablet under your tongue.

     

    The new tablets will only treat either grass pollen allergy or ragweed pollen allergy. But since those 2 types of pollen allergies cover late spring into the first frosts of fall, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, chances are these SLIT tablets have the potential to help you.

     

    It is likely to be a few years yet before we see sublingual immunotherapy drops or tablets approved for other types of allergens, such as pet dander, molds, dust mites or tree pollens, but this is an encouraging start.

     

    SLIT is already available in the U.S., but it is currently considered "off-label" since it lacks the FDA endorsement. That means insurance won't cover it, which can be a barrier for many people with allergies. Once FDA approval is gained, it's likely that health insurance companies will also begin to add SLIT to their formularies of approved medications.

     

    SLIT is safe, effective and relatively inexpensive. So, if you're interested and your doctor agrees that it's the right choice for you, keep your eyes open for the official FDA approval.

     

    Meanwhile, there is always the option of allergy shots!

    Sublingual immunotherapy is serum containing tiny amounts of allergens that you are allergic to. You take these drops under the tongue (sublingual). The aim is to lessen your severity to these allergens over time by constantly exposing you to them in safe amounts. - See more at: http://www.healthcentral.com/allergy/c/3387/133159/immunotherapy#sthash.7U2Iknsk.dpuf
    Sublingual immunotherapy is serum containing tiny amounts of allergens that you are allergic to. You take these drops under the tongue (sublingual). The aim is to lessen your severity to these allergens over time by constantly exposing you to them in safe amounts. - See more at: http://www.healthcentral.com/allergy/c/3387/133159/immunotherapy#sthash.7U2Iknsk.dpuf
Published On: February 26, 2014