Sublingual Immunotherapy Simplified: Answers to 7 Common Questions
If you suffer from allergies, you likely feel the everyday impacts allergies can cause. We have good news — there is a safe, cost-effective, and convenient option available that might help you enjoy everyday activities and live your ideal lifestyle without worrying about allergies slowing you down. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), commonly known as allergy drops, treats allergy symptoms long term. This is done by addressing the root cause, rather than just the symptoms, of allergies and related conditions.
We answered seven common questions about sublingual immunotherapy following The La Crosse Method™ (LCM) Protocol to provide you with a better understanding of how allergy drop immunotherapy could fit into your lifestyle.
1. What is sublingual immunotherapy?
Sublingual immunotherapy is a safe and comfortable allergy treatment option you take in liquid drop form under your tongue every day. The body’s largest concentration of tolerance-building dendritic cells is located under your tongue. By introducing small doses of your problem allergens to these cells, they help your body recognize them as “non-offenders” with the ultimate goal of reducing or eliminating reactions.
2. What makes the La Crosse Method different?
The La Crosse Method Protocol is unique and focuses on you and your “allergic fingerprint” to treat an array of allergies and associated conditions. After an exam, reviewing your history, and testing based on your suspected allergens, your provider will develop a treatment plan that may include personalized allergy drops based on your specific allergies and level of sensitivities. The LCM process focuses on creating the right dose of antigens to help you build tolerance without a high risk of side effects.
3. Who can be treated using allergy drop immunotherapy?
Allergy drops are an option for a range of people who experience symptoms from allergies and associated conditions:
- Infants and children
- Severe asthmatics
- Patients with chronic conditions, including sinusitis
- Patients with food and mold allergies
- Needle sensitive patients or those who experience reactions from injections
- People with multiple allergies
Research on sublingual immunotherapy’s safety and effectiveness in improving various related conditions continues, including recent research showing the potential benefits SLIT has for toddlers with peanut allergies.
4. Are allergy drops safe?
Sublingual immunotherapy has been used across the globe for over 100 years with many studies demonstrating safety. The La Crosse Method Protocol, which we share through Allergychoices, has been used for over half a century and has outcomes validated through the Validation Institute. No life-threatening reactions have been reported from using the LCM Protocol.
5. How long does treatment last?
Treatment typically lasts for 3-5 years, depending on patient adherence, allergy type and severity level. There are three phases to treatment:
- Phase 1: During the first 0 to 3 months, your body adjusts to treatment, symptoms can improve, and tolerance begins.
- Phase 2: As symptoms improve, between 3 months and 2 years of treatment, your body changes its antigen tolerance level.
- Phase 3: Between approximately 2 and 5 years of treatment, symptoms continue improving and your body increases its allergy tolerance level to help you stay symptom free post-treatment.
*Your specific treatment timeline may vary.
6. How much do allergy drops cost?
You may be surprised to learn how much your allergies are really costing you when you factor in medication, time off, office visits and more. Successful allergy drop treatment can result in lower costs over time. Fewer missed days from work and/or school, decreased costs associated with multiple appointments, and fewer medications needed to control symptoms after starting treatment can all contribute to potential savings.
Are you worried about insurance coverage? Insurance companies may cover costs associated with appointments and testing, even if the prescriptions themselves are not covered. If you have a Health Savings Account or Flex Spending reimbursement, allergy drop prescriptions are typically covered.
7. Where is allergy drop treatment available?
Allergychoices has shared the LCM with over 2,000 practices across the country to bring personalized allergy drop treatment close to home.
Find a provider near you who has received training and currently reports following the La Crosse Method Protocol for allergy drop immunotherapy.