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Immunotherapy is the term that describes administration of allergy vaccines. Allergic disease implies a dysfunction of the immunological system. Administration of allergy vaccines will lead into a shift of the immunological system function, from a dysfunctional one to a functional one, where allergy symptoms do not occur.

Allergy vaccines can be adminsitered by injections or orally.

The injectable route called Subcutaneous Injection Immunotherapy (usually known simply as allergy shots) is the better known route.

The oral route is less known. It is called Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT for short) also known as oral vaccines or oral drops. In this case the patient literally “drinks the shots”, as the vaccine is administered as oral allergy drops that are placed under the tongue (i.e. sublingually) kept there for a certain amount of time and then swallowed.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

SLIT is a unique immunotherapy treatment modality: it combines extreme safety with efficacy and it has some advantages over the traditional injectable method:

  1. It is much easy to administer so it becomes the ideal home-based immunotherapy: As patient self-administers the treatment at home, the need of transportation to and from the office, and the safety-requirement of waiting at the doctor’s office for 30 minutes after each shot are avoided.
  2. Because of the easy administration SLIT is useful for the treatment of young children. Its sweet taste facilitates administration.
  3. Weekly co-pays (required usually for each weekly injection) do not exist.
  4. As SLIT eliminates the need for needles, people that cannot tolerate injections can now become candidates for immunotherapy.
  5. Lastly SLIT is useful in special situations like.
    • The patient with asthma. (We strongly suggest that SLIT should be considered the treatment of choice for these patients).
    • The patient on beta blockers (BB’s). Betablockers are a group of medications used mainly for the treatment of Hypertension, Arrhythmias and Migraines. They can facilitate a severe reaction to allergy shots.
    • The patient with physical or logistical difficulties in coming to the doctor’s office on a weekly basis.

The treatment protocol used at our office proves to be extremely safe and highly effective. Patients as young as 2 years old have been successfully treated with our protocol, as well as many patients with asthma –even severe-. This protocol has been designed by Dr. Saporta in 2005 and published in 2007 in the ENT litereature.1

More Sublingual Immunotherapy information