Safety and Effectiveness of Allergy Drops
Allergy drops have been used around the world for more than 100 years with many studies showing that allergy drops are safe and effective. Physicians actually used allergy drops before they used allergy shots. In more than 45 years of clinical application of the La Crosse Method™ Protocol, there has never been a systemic, anaphylactic or near-fatal reaction reported from sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) treatment.
The La Crosse Method Protocol for providing sublingual immunotherapy is unique from other available treatment protocols. Dosing for each patient is tied directly to allergy testing results, history and exam. Dose adjustments are based on allergy retesting and the patient’s ability to tolerate a higher dose without side effects such as stomach ache or oral itching. With this carefully monitored approach, practitioners using the La Crosse Method have been able to successfully treat the most brittle allergy patients including those with food allergy, asthma, and others not considered candidates for allergy shots or other treatments including OIT.
There have been a few serious reactions reported using other treatment/clinical approaches and an increase in the amount of side effects reported using higher doses of sublingual immunotherapy not recommended in the La Crosse Method. It should be noted, and is also verified by a World Allergy Organization report that, “The safety of SLIT is superior to that of subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), and no fatality has been reported in 23 years of trials and clinical use. The most frequently reported events were irritation of the throat and oral itching. According to the recent data, the number of side effects seems to be dose-dependent, as happens with SCIT.”†
†Source: Passsalacqua, G., Compalati, E., Canonica, G.W. Sublingual Immunotherapy: Clinical Indications in the WAO-SLIT Position Paper. World Allergy Organization Journal. 2010;3:216-219.
International Research Support for Sublingual Immunotherapy
Internationally, sublingual immunotherapy is widely used (50% in some European countries), with full regulatory and government backing.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicated its use in its 1998 position paper. In 2007, for the second time (originally in 2001), an international workgroup that included U.S. allergists published the ARIA (Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma) guidelines indicating sublingual immunotherapy as a viable treatment approach. The ARIA paper also indicates that not only is there more modern research on sublingual immunotherapy compared to subcutaneous immunotherapy, but it is also of higher quality in terms of WHO guidelines for research studies.
A Cochrane Review, the most trusted, independent, evidence-based, meta-analysis organization in the world, released their analysis in 2003 and determined sublingual immunotherapy both safe and effective.
In 2013, the AHRQ study to review allergy shots to treat allergic rhinitis and asthma also showed numerous benefits from sublingual immunotherapy across multiple studies.