Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (Ear, Nose, and Throat)
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)
What Is Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)?
Immunotherapy treats the cause of allergies by giving the patient small doses of what they are allergic to, after which time a patient has an increased immunity, or tolerance, to the allergen. This reduces the patient's allergic symptoms. Sublingual immunotherapy is given as drops under the tongue, as opposed to injection immunotherapy (or shots). Sublingual immunotherapy has been widely practiced in Europe for 15 years and is becoming more widely practiced in the United States as well.
How Does the Process Work?
First, allergy testing is done to determine what the patient is allergic to. Then, a custom mixed vial is prepared for the patient. The patient will take drops under the tongue daily. First is the escalation phase, which typically takes place over four months while the dose is incrementally increased. Next is the maintenance phase when the patient takes the same dose of drops daily.
Is Sublingual Immunotherapy Safe?
It is very safe. Because of its low risk, patients can self-administer the drops in the convenience of their own home (unlike injection immunotherapy, which requires weekly appointments at the doctor's office for shots). It is safe for both adults and children.
Does Sublingual Immunotherapy Work?
Multiple scientific studies published in medical literature have shown that sublingual immunotherapy significantly reduces allergy symptoms.
How Long Must the Sublingual Immunotherapy be Continued?
It is recommended that sublingual immunotherapy be continued for 3–5 years. This amount of time is needed for the body to build up a lasting immunity.
How Do I Start Sublingual Immunotherapy?
Call Dr. Houser's office at 216-778-8890 for an evaluation, allergy testing, and to see if you are a candidate for sublingual immunotherapy. If you are a candidate, the vials will take 1–2 weeks to mix. Dr. Houser will see you 1–2 times per year to monitor your progress. During therapy, when your last vial is half empty, please call our office to order your new vial.