What To Know About Sublingual Immunotherapy, aka Allergy Drops

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Sublingual Immunotherapy

Do you suffer from allergies, but does the thought of getting regular allergy shots sound like the wrong treatment for you? You might want to consider sublingual immunotherapy, also known as allergy drops. But do allergy drops work?

In this blog, we’re here to answer some of your most burning questions about allergy drops, including whether they work better than shots, how they work and how to take them.

[Related: How To Treat Seasonal Allergies]

What Are Sublingual Allergy Drops? How Do Allergy Drops Work?

Allergy drops are a method of controlling and subduing your allergies through sublingual doses. What’s “sublingual” mean? It’s something (often a medicine) under your tongue. 

Rather than any sort of injections, you simply place a few drops under your tongue until they are absorbed. These drops are small doses of allergens that an allergist or ENT custom-makes for each patient depending on their particular allergy triggers.

Do Allergy Drops Work Better Than Allergy Shots?

Are allergy drops as effective as allergy shots? It’s something many people who suffer from allergies wonder. The answer really depends on the patient. 

For some people, especially children who might be anxious around needles, allergy drops are a great alternative. Another benefit to allergy drops is that patients can self-dose with minimal training or skill. 

While both methods are effective at subduing allergies, some studies have shown that shots may be better when treating asthma and allergic rhinitis. 

How Do Sublingual Allergy Drops Work?

Similar to allergy shots, sublingual allergy drops aim to help control your allergies through building up your immune system. The drops contain controlled allergen amounts that trigger your allergies and gradually reduce your sensitivity to those triggers. Sublingual immunotherapy, aka allergy drops, has three main goals:

  • Reducing or eliminating allergic reactions
  • Eliminating the need for constant medication
  • Eventually eliminating the need for drops or shots

Doctors increase the number of drops and the allergen concentration levels in each dose until you meet these goals and your allergies are under control! This means that the next time you encounter the allergy source, your body won’t react so strongly.

[Related: Why Breathing Leads to Better Mindfulness]

How To Take Sublingual Allergy Drops

Allergy drops work best when you take them three times per day, with regular check-ins from your ENT doctor to adjust the dosage when needed.

You’ll place a few drops under your tongue using a dropper-vial, hold them there for about a minute and then swallow. Depending on the severity of your allergies and the treatment you and your doctor decided on, you may have to repeat this process for months or years for maintenance and control.

What Are the Side Effects of Allergy Drops?

Allergy drops’ side effects vary patient by patient, but they’re rarely severe. Side effects can include the following:

  • Itchy mouth
  • Lip and tongue irritation
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Nausea and abdominal cramping
  • Eye itching, redness and swelling
  • Nasal itching and sneezing
  • Hives, itching and swelling of skin

If you experience persistent side effects or something doesn’t feel right, contact your ENT or administering doctor as soon as possible.

How Much Do Allergy Drops Cost?

How much do allergy drops cost? Are allergy drops covered by insurance? Why are allergy drops not covered by insurance? These are all common questions among allergy sufferers. 

It’s a bit frustrating, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved sublingual immunotherapy. Therefore, health insurance can’t cover it. 

The drops’ out-of-pocket cost will vary depending on your doctor, treatment plan and allergen concentrate. The cost can range anywhere from $30 to $300 per month.

[Related: 3 Tips To Prepare for Fall Allergy Season]

Visit Dr. Matorin for Lasting Allergy Relief Today!

Dr. Matorin believes that together, patients and doctors can find lasting solutions to allergy symptoms. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about allergy drops and other sinus and allergy treatment methods. 

We’re ready to help you find long-term relief! 

Featured image via Unsplash


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