Immunotherapy is the only allergy treatment that has the potential to cure the disease. It gets at the cause of the problem, rather than to just treat the symptoms. Most physicians agree that immunotherapy is underutilized and we are really seeing that with the new asthma guidelines as well as in treatment recommendations for eosinophilic esophagitis.
Interestingly, Immunotherapy involves the administration of the substances that trigger allergies to the patient on a regular basis. Although it seems counterintuitive, it seems to correct the immune system’s hyper-responsiveness. Currently immunotherapy can be administered as subcutaneous shots or as an under the tongue tablet or drops.
|Allergy Shots||Allergy Drops|
|Method of Administration||Shot in the Arm(s)||A Drop Under the Tongue|
|Risk of Anaphylaxis||Small||None Reported|
|Adverse Reactions||Multiple (Swelling, Itching, Hay fever, etc.)||Nausea, Itching/Swelling/Tingling in the Mouth|
|Physician Visit Required?||Weekly for Years||Every 6-12 Months|
|Allergy Testing Required||Yes (every 1-3 years depending on the allergy profile)||Yes (every 1-3 years depending on the allergy profile)|
|Insurance Coverage for Allergy Testing||Yes for Most Insurances||Yes for Most Insurances|
|Contraindications?||Yes (beta-blockers, history of anaphylaxis, young children, infants; severe asthmatics)||NO|
|Duration of Treatment||3-5+ years||3-5+ years|
|Treatment Frequency||Every 1 to 4 weeks||Once/Daily|
|Treatment Location||Physician Office on Build-Up; Home on Maintenance if not asthmatic.||Home|
|FDA Approved?||Yes||Off-Label (Currently Pending)|
|Cost||Per Insurance Carrier||$100 for 2 month supply (less than $12 a week)|