What is allergy immunotherapy?
While allergy treatment medications are available and can be effective to a certain degree, they don’t cure people of allergies. Allergen immunotherapy is arguably the closest thing we have to a cure for allergies – it not only minimizes the severity of your allergy symptoms, but also eliminates the need for medications for many allergy sufferers.
Allergy immunotherapy is particularly effective in the treatment of animal-based allergens and house dust mites.
How does allergy immunotherapy work?
Allergen immunotherapy involves repeatedly introducing allergens into your system. Doing so gradually densensitises your immune system’s response to said allergens, over time diminishing your allergy symptoms.
How is allergy immunotherapy administered?
- Allergy immunotherapy tablets
Healthcare providers recommend that you take oral immunotherapy tablets over an extended period, as this will allow you to enjoy longevity of results even after stopping your treatment. It’s worth noting that other types of medication such as inhalers, antihistamines as well as nasal sprays only provide temporary relief.
- Sublingual immunotherapy
A type of treatment that involves the introduction of allergens under your tongue, sublingual immunotherapy is an equally effective treatment for allergic rhinitis, asthma as well as other allergic conditions. Sublingual immunotherapy is available in tablet form. The tablet is inserted in your mouth and placed under your tongue, where it will dissolve almost instantly. This mode of treatment is a highly effective and convenient way for allergy sufferers to take their immunotherapy medication on the go.
- Immunotherapy injections
Immunotherapy injections, also known as allergy shots, are usually administered over a period of time, typically between three and five years. Every immunotherapy injection shot features a small amount of the specific substance that causes your allergic reaction. These injections are intended to stimulate your immune system and strengthen your resistance without triggering a full-blown allergic reaction.
- Sublingual immunotherapy spray
Sublingual immunotherapy spray is a non-invasive treatment for allergies that do not involve the use of injections. It is especially suitable for treating allergic respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Is there a permanent treatment for allergies?
It’s worth noting that there is no cure for allergies! However, you can effectively manage your allergic symptoms via allergy treatment as well as by minimizing your exposure to the specific allergen.
Is allergy immunotherapy suitable for you?
You will have to consult a board-certified allergist about how your allergy symptoms impact your health and daily life.
During your consultation with us, our doctor will consider the following factors:
- Do your symptoms constantly interfere with your daily activities?
- Do you suffer from conditions such as asthma, sinusitis, or eczema that aggravate your allergy symptoms?
- Have reliable allergy tests proven that you are allergic to an allergen that can be effectively treated through immunotherapy?
- Are you willing to commit to the allergy immunotherapy schedule?
- Is the potential allergen one that is tough to prevent exposure to in everyday life?
- Are you finding it tough to manage your allergic symptoms through medication?
How effective is allergy immunotherapy?
Several studies have consistently revealed that allergy immunotherapy treatment can result in a substantial minimization of allergy-associated symptoms. This type of treatment will not only help alleviate your allergy symptoms and allow you to feel better, but will also reduce your dependency on medication.
Immunotherapy addresses the primary cause of your allergy condition – hence results are long term.
A number of clinical studies have shown that even after stopping their immunotherapy treatment, patients continued to enjoy the benefits of allergy symptom reduction for at least 7 years.
What allergies can allergy immunotherapy Singapore treat?
Allergy immunotherapy is good for:
- Insect sting allergy
- Allergic rhinitis
- Airborne allergens such as house dust mites as well as pet dander.
Are there any known side effects of allergy immunotherapy treatment?
One significant disadvantage of allergy immunotherapy is the risk of developing a life-threatening and potentially fatal systemic allergic reaction referred to as anaphylaxis. Some of the most common risk factors of this condition may include being asthmatic, a history of systemic reactions and a history of high-sensitivity exposure to allergens.
If you have any of the above conditions, it’s strongly recommended that you go for SLIT (sublingual immunotherapy) instead.
SLIT is not only a more effective treatment option, but also comes with much lower risks. The only adverse side effects associated with this type of treatment are:
- Slight itching
- Tingling of your mouth and tongue
- Mild swelling on your lips or tongue
These symptoms usually subside within a few days.
You are a suitable immunotherapy candidate if:
- You suffer from allergies that impact your quality of life.
- You are always exposed to allergens.
- Your allergy is linked to IgE-mediated allergic conditions.
Sublingual immunotherapy spray is a popular treatment for allergies because it not only eliminates your need to take numerous allergy medications and is safe, but because it’s also easy to use and can easily be administered at home without the assistance of a healthcare provider. What’s more, sublingual immunotherapy spray can minimize the severity of your asthma as well as other allergic-related conditions.
While sublingual immunotherapy is generally regarded as one of the most effective allergy treatments, its overall efficacy depends on the course of your treatment.
There is nothing special you need to do to properly store your immunotherapy tablets. Like most types of medications, you only need to keep them inside their blister packet at room temperature and in a cool dry place. You can carry the tablets with you wherever you go.
Yes. There is no problem taking other medications while on allergy immunotherapy. However, research has shown that you may not have to use other medications if your symptoms subside with sublingual immunotherapy spray. Of course, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor should you feel that you need to incorporate other medications into your sublingual immunotherapy spray.
Bearing in mind that sublingual immunotherapy tablets feature allergen extracts, they are likely to cause some mild side effects. As such, users can expect to experience side effects that affect either the mouth or throat – but your symptoms should disappear within a few minutes. Your board-certified allergist will administer the first tablet and assess your response to the medication to ascertain the severity of your reaction. Thereafter, your doctor will put in place the necessary measures to manage any potential future side effects.