Could it be that those with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and childhood nasal allergies can finally get a break from their allergies and their allergy shots? Chicago's leading allergy, asthma, and immunology expert, Dr. Brian Rotskoff, who treats a large number of Chicago pediatric allergy patients, is happy to say, "Yes!"
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a highly effective, easy-to-administer option for chronic allergy and asthma sufferers. Dr. Rotskoff of Clarity Allergy Center, is one of very few Chicago allergists to offer children and adults the allergy drops/allergy shots option.
What Are Allergy Drops?
Sublingual immunotherapy is simply a less invasive way of administering the very same antigen formulas used in allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy) for nearly a century. "Allergy shots work well but let's face it, no one enjoys getting a shot every week, especially not children. And the weekly schedule commitment can be a challenge for parents and busy professionals," says Dr. Rotskoff.
How Does Sublingual Immunotherapy Work?
After comprehensive allergy skin testing, Dr. Rotskoff prepares a custom antigen blend for each patient. The allergy solution is then administered daily, in the comfort of the patient's home, in the form of drops placed under the tongue. No more shots, no more weekly trips to the doctor.
Just like with allergy shots, SLIT works by exposing the patient to gradually increasing quantities of their allergens to build tolerance and desensitize the immune system. Dosage increases during the escalation phase and then stabilizes for a maintenance phase of about three to five years.
Why Allergy Drops?
While relatively new in the U.S., allergy drops are widely used in Europe and are proven to achieve lasting results in the majority of patients. Further, they can significantly reduce the development of childhood asthma up to 7 years after treatment.
Beyond the obvious appeal of pain-free allergy treatment, allergy drops help patients in a number of ways:
Convenient, at-home application
Significantly more child-friendly and safe for young children
More cost-effective maintenance regimen
Reduces need for oral allergy medication
Successfully treats broader range of allergies and prevents new allergies
Achieves long-term alteration of the body's immune response to allergens
Improves asthma control and can prevent asthma from developing
Proven effective in reducing childhood asthma, chronic ear infections, and eczema
"Allergy drops significantly improve quality of life for my patients," adds Dr. Rotskoff, "their allergies are controlled just as effectively as with allergy shots, in a much more convenient and comfortable way." Dr. Rotskoff checks in with his SLIT patients every six months to monitor progress, more frequently during the escalation phase.