Sublingual Immunotherapy FAQs
Allergy Treatment Without the use of Needles!
What is sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)?
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a method of allergy treatment that uses drops given under the tongue. It is a type of allergy immunotherapy. Unlike medications, which only treat the symptoms, immunotherapy treats the underlying cause of allergies.
How does sublingual immunotherapy differ from allergy shots?
There are no needles used to give the therapy. The patient simply puts drops under the tongue.
Is it safe?
SLIT has an excellent safety profile and is generally considered safer than allergy shots. In 1998 the World Health Organization concluded that sublingual immunotherapy was a viable alternative to allergy injections and that its use in clinical practice is justified.
How does sublingual immunotherapy work?
Small amounts of the allergen (antigen) are given under the tongue. These allergens are picked up by the immune system and processed. In the course of processing the antigens, the patient develops a tolerance to those substances that are in the serum.
Do I have to have an allergy test to get SLIT?
Yes. The only way to obtain proper information in order to prepare your serum is to conduct an allergy test. testing is generally done in the office and takes 1 to 2 hours to complete. You need to be seen for a regular appointment with the doctor prior to allergy testing.
Can SLIT be given to children?
SLIT is ideal for children. There are no needles and the drops actually taste pretty good!
Is it covered by insurance?
At this time, SLIT is not covered by insurance. However, since it is much easier to administer and is generally done at home, SLIT is often cheaper for patients because they don't have to pay co-pays. Also you don't have to spend time and money coming to the office every week.
Is SLIT as good as shots?
Multiple studies demonstrate that SLIT is equivalent to allergy shots for the treatment of allergies.
How is SLIT administered?
Drops are given under the tongue daily. They can be given at home. The maintenance dose is achieved after only 10 days of treatment.
Can all types of allergies be treated?
SLIT is used for the same types of allergies that are treated by shots. This includes pollens (trees, grasses, weeds), dust, mold, and animals.
How long do I have to stay on therapy?
Generally patients will remain on therapy for at least two years after they reach their maintenance level. Total therapy typically lasts from 2 to 3 years.