Sub-Lingual (Oral) allergy drops
Sub-lingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is an effective alternative method to injections to treat seasonal allergies, rhinitis, asthma and eczema. Drops are compounded by prescription based on allergy testing done in office by an allergist or through blood testing. Patients receive initially very low, then gradually increasing daily amounts of allergens over a period of days to months, allowing the immune system to develop tolerance to those allergens, and improvement or discontinuation of symptoms. Health Canada has approved SLIT therapy for ragweed and grass pollens and is studying SLIT for other environmental allergens.
The great advantage of SLIT therapy is that it is administered at home with guidance of your doctor, and is particularly helpful for children or the elderly, people who travel, or people who are anxious around needles. Doses start at one drop, once a day, and are gradually increased in strength to reach an effective maintenance dose to manage symptoms. Many patients with seasonal allergies or asthma report improvement in their symptoms in the first 4-6 weeks, and significant decrease in need for medication therapies such as anti-histamines or asthma inhalers with maintenance doses. Recommended duration of treatment to achieve desensitization is three to five years, but sometimes can be achieved in about two years.
I have used SLIT therapy in my practice for about 12 years and have had consistently good results with mild to severe allergies, with very few adverse effects. We often will postpone daily dosing when patients are sick, but otherwise patients can take their drops daily, year round, and SLIT therapy does not interfere with other prescribed medicines or natural health products. Dosing may need to be adjusted to lower initial doses and slower increase when patients are highly sensitive, very young or pregnant, but otherwise, the safety profile with this therapy is very high.