Immunotherapy can change the natural history of allergic disease
Immunotherapy or allergen immunotherapy (AIT)
Allergy shots are specialized treatment for a patient with allergic diseases. In AIT, purified standardized allergen in small doses is introduced to body in a graded manner. This increasing dose of giving allergen over a period of time improves immune tolerance to a particular that allergen and thereby reduces symptoms of allergy produced by that allergen. But before starting AIT, your Allergist do certain tests to find out what are the allergens which you are allergic too. After finding out the causative allergen if you’re Allergist thinks that it will be responsive to AIT, then and then only AIT can be started.. Immunotherapy is a long term treatment, so it need cooperation on behalf of patient.
Allergen immunotherapy (AIT) consists of a buildup phase and a maintenance phase.
In buildup phase a standard purified small amount of allergen is given as shot one to three times per week for about three to six months to let your body to tolerate the allergen.
During the maintenance phase, the particular allergen is introduced as shots every two to four weeks over the course of three to five years. It may take more than a year to get relief from allergy symptoms. After that your allergy symptoms may completely disappear or reduced to a greater extent. AIT may have some side effects. So your Allergist will tell you to wait for at least 30 to 45 minutes before leaving the clinic or hospital.
AIT is effective in
Around 1 in 4 people with allergic rhinitis also have asthma. Studies shown that allergen immunotherapy (AIT) for inhalant allergens reduces the rate of development of new onset sensitization to other inhalant allergens and the rate of progression from allergic rhinitis and asthma.
The allergen for which the AIT available include
- House dust mite
- Tree pollen
- Cat dander
There are two types of AIT. These include
Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT):
Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT) is an effective treatment for allergy. In SCIT a series of injections are given subcutaneously about once a week during the initial phase of treatment. The treatment is done for a period of one to three years. Some physician continue SCIT for three to five years. SCIT can provide complete cure of allergy in some patients. Many individual experience symptoms free for several years after stopping treatment.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT):
In Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), purified standardized allergen in small doses in placed under tongue in a graded manner. This increasing dose of giving allergen over a period of time improves immune tolerance to that allergen and reduces symptoms. SLIT in an approved treatment for dust mite allergy.
Possible side effects include:
- Itching in the mouth or ear
- Irritation in throat
- Anaphylaxis- rarely