No Need for Needles Liquid Allergy Drops Slowly Gaining a Foothold

For people being treated for allergies, it can be somewhat of a pain to be subjected to shots about once a week. Today, many allergists are heading down an alternate route in using allergy drops to treat their patients with allergies. These sublingual (under-the-tongue) treatments are taken at home by the patient and are showing similar benefits to weekly injections.

Typically, allergy shots consist of diluted versions of the allergen to which the patient reacts, usually at a ratio of about 100,000 to one. In some cases, ear, nose, and throat allergists use a dilution of about a million to one. The allergens are injected into the patient, who then must wait approximately 30 minutes to be sure there is no detrimental reaction to the injection before leaving the doctor’s office.

To get allergy shots, patients must deal with the time involved in leaving work or school as often as weekly, traveling to the doctor’s office, getting the shot, waiting the half-hour to make sure there are no adverse reactions, then returning to work or school. Then there’s the cost of each office visit; even for those with health insurance that covers the cost of the allergen injection, most insurance companies require a copayment by the patient, which adds up quickly with weekly visits.

Saving Time and Money

With the use of sublingual allergy drops, the patient visits the doctor two or three times a year and receives the prescription for the allergy drops. Most insurance plans cover the cost of the drops, and the patient’s co-pay costs are reduced to the number of visits to the doctor’s office. They also save the time of the weekly visits; the allergy drops are simply placed under the tongue each week as directed.

In the number of patients using the sublingual allergy drops there have been rare instances when a patient reacts to the drops adversely, in the same way they may react to injections, but proponents say the advantages far outweigh the need to be in the presence of the doctor when receiving the allergen.

Many allergists will begin a patient’s treatment using both shots and allergy drops, and if the drops show a marked reduction in the symptoms of the allergy, the suggestion is made to the patient to use the drops exclusively. Most children, particularly those with needle anxiety, will opt for the allergy drops, and it has been shown that more people will take the drops on a regimented basis as opposed to the injections.

Article reprinted from the Health Savvy blog; www.health.savvy-cafe.com

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