What Is Immunotherapy and Is It Right for You?


Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM offers two types of Immunotherapy:

  • Traditional Allergy Injections
  • Sublingual Immunotherapy – Drops under the tongue

Medications such as antihistamines and decongestants can treat only allergy symptoms such as runny nose, cough, itchy eyes, sinus congestion, headaches or asthma. For more effective relief, an allergy doctor  prescribes immunotherapy to allergy sufferers. Immunotherapy treats the underlying cause of the allergic reaction and is the only available treatment that can effectively result in the elimination or reduction of allergic disease.

woman  allergy sneeze

How does immunotherapy work?

  • When you have allergies, your immune system reacts to allergens such as pollen, dust mites or food with an inflammatory response resulting in congestion, cough, itchy eyes, or asthma. Immunotherapy works by gradually introducing the allergen to your body and desensitizing the immune system. Overtime, this gradual introduction of allergens helps your immune system build up its own natural immunity, safely and effectively, making you much less allergic.

What does immunotherapy involve?

  • The first step in the immunotherapy process is to determine exactly what triggers your allergic symptoms.  Triggers can include allergens such as pollen from specific types of grasses, trees, or weeds, molds, dust mites or foods. An allergy doctor will conduct allergy skin testing. At Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM the standard allergy skin testing regime involves skin testing for 48 allergens using a needleless method with results available in 20 minutes.
  • Once the allergy triggers are identified, the allergy doctor develops a personalized prescription to begin immunotherapy. The prescription consists of carefully calculated doses of allergy extracts.  Allergy extracts are scientifically produced allergen substances that are approved by the FDA for injection purposes.
  • The allergy extract prescription will then be prepared for administration in one of two ways, subcutaneous (allergy shots) or sublingual (allergy drops) immunotherapy. The allergy extract is then administered in small doses over an extended period of time. The doses gradually increase in potency, training your immune system to NOT react to the allergen with an inflammatory response. The patient will suffer from fewer and less severe allergy symptoms.

Are there any side effects of immunotherapy?

  • The majority of allergy sufferers experience no ill side effects from immunotherapy. With allergy injections, on occasion, a patient may have minimal redness or swelling at the injection site. Some individuals will notice a brief increase in nasal congestion or sneezing immediately after treatment. There is also a very small risk of an anaphylactic reaction. However, each injection is followed by a 30 minute observational period to monitor for an adverse reaction to the injection.
  • Sublingual immunotherapy or allergy drops are administered at home. Some patients experience tingling under their tongues for a short time after administration. There is no risk of an adverse reaction with sublingual immunotherapy.

Who is a candidate for immunotherapy?

  • Anyone who has allergies is a potential candidate for immunotherapy. However, only a board certified allergy doctor can determine if you qualify for treatment. If you suffer year after year with allergy symptoms and allergy medications such as antihistamines and decongestants are not helping, contact your allergy doctor today to discuss immunotherapy.

Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM provides safe and effective immunotherapy treatment for patients with allergies. If you live in the greater King of Prussia or Philadelphia region and suffer from allergies or asthma, our board certified allergy doctors and immunologists can help. Call us at (800) 86-COUGH to learn more or to schedule an appointment at one of our eight convenient locations.