What is SLIT?
Sublingual immunotherapy treats the underlying cause of environmental and seasonal allergies by giving small doses of the allergen to the patient. Exposure to these small doses over time desensitizes the immune system and increases tolerance to the allergens which subsequently reduces the allergenic symptoms.
How does SLIT work?
An initial scratch test is done to determine which allergens you are reactive to. The first dose of the indicated allergen/s is given in the office. Subsequent daily doses of the allergy drops are taken at home. Retesting after 6 months of treatment will determine whether the drops are still needed.
SLIT is given as drops under the tongue. Research shows that when an allergen is presented this way, the immune system learns to tolerate the allergen. The results is less allergy symptoms when the body is exposed to the allergy source such as airborn pollen or pet dander.
SLIT or Allergy Shots
Like injection therapy, SLIT directly changes the body’s ability to react with allergens. Allergy shots are effective, but need to be given in a physician’s office. This inconvenience results in high drop off rates or many patients, Sublingual immunotherapy offers a great alternative treatment option for people reluctant or unable to undergo allergy shots.
The advantages of SLIT
1. More convenient than shots
Few clinic visits and less time away from work. The first dosage is taken at our office.
2. See lasting results
Reduce your dependency on antihistamines and other rescue medications that only address the symptoms of allergy. SLIT re-trains your body not to be allergy in the first place.
3. Better quality of life
Patients regularly report fewer sick days away from school and work, better sleep, and a reduction in symptoms.
How long will it take to see results with SLIT?
Depends on your goal
SLIT can be used during allergy season or done preventatively, beginning 30-60 days prior to pollen season (continuing to the end of the season itself – and beyond if indicated).
The vast majority of patients experience marked symptom relief within the first few months of starting treatment. As with all allergy immunotherapy, long-term, lasting results require 3-5 years of treatment. Research shows that committing to the full therapy can result in permanent symptom relief. No more allergies.
SLIT is proven
With over 60 clinical trials proving efficacy, endorsement from the World Health Organization, the World Allergy Organization and the Cochrane Collaboration, SLIT is proven to be effective, safe and well tolerated.
Research has found it to be effective in hay fever, allergic rhinitis (runny nose), allergic conjunctivitis (itchy/red eyes), and allergic asthma. It has also been found to prevent the development of allergic asthma in children with eczema and allergic rhinitis.
Are the any side effects of SLIT?
Rarely, however, the most common side effect of allergy drops is a mild, local irritation in the mouth and under the tongue.
Who is SLIT for?
SLIT therapy are safe in children (>3), highly reactive people and those with underlying medical conditions that prevent them from being candidates for injection therapy.
Who should not use SLIT?
- Patients on beta-blockers or uncontrolled asthma
- Pregnant or nursing
How do I get SLIT?
SLIT is available by prescription only. Give us a call and schedule an appointment.
What about cost?
SLIT is covered by most extended drug plans. Cost benefit analysis has proven that SLIT can cut down on medication costs and actually save you money.
Types of allergies treated
- Dust mites
- Tree pollens
Safe for children
Children 3 years of age and older can be treated using SLIT. This is an ideal treatment for children as it addresses the underlying cause of the allergy and can prevent future problems related to their allergy (such as allergy-induced asthma).
Who should be cautious about this treatment?
People with asthma should have their symptoms well under control during the testing and early treatment phase. We suggest that asthmatics bring their blue (salbutamol) inhaler with them for the testing, and carry it with them throughout their treatment.
Skin prick testing cannot be undertaken by patients taking beta-blockers, and is not advisable during pregnancy.
When should I start my treatment?
For prevention (pre-seasonal treatment), your treatment should start 4-8 weeks prior to pollen season. – Tree pollen: treatment should start early December or January – Grass pollen: treatment should start early April or May.
Co-seasonal treatment (treatment during active allergy symptoms) can start at any time during the allergy season.
- Trees: February to June
- Grasses: June to August
There is no season for mold, cat dander, or house dust mite — treatment can start at any time.
How accurate is the testing?
Scratch tests are highly accurate for pollen, dander, dust mite, and mold spore allergies. They have, at minimum, 98% sensitivity and 95% specificity for the allergens tested. Results are highly reproducible. Scratch tests are less reliable for food allergies, and for allergies that are delayed in their presentation. We use other forms of testing to detect these types of concerns.
Appointments and Fees for Sublingual Immunotherapy
Expect to be in the clinic for up to one hour for the initial test and dosing. The test itself takes a few minutes to administer, however the results take up to half an hour to be determined. You must remain at the clinic for at least 15-20 minutes after the first administration of the drops.