Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
Immunotherapy is a treatment program designed to reduce allergic sensitivity to environmental allergens including pollen, dust mites, mold spores and animal dander.
It is an excellent treatment option for patients whose symptoms are not improved on medications or for patients who cannot avoid the specific allergens affecting them – like a favorite pet or dust/mold in the workplace. Also, allergen immunotherapy is the only treatment option with the potential to cure an allergy. Immunotherapy is a popular choice for patients who prefer to avoid the potential side-effects of medications or want to avoid taking medications on a long-term basis. Clinical studies have shown that 80-90% of patients’ allergies improve and that the treatment remains effective for many years after shots are discontinued. The immunotherapy process consists of receiving injections of small amounts of the allergens which are causing your allergy symptoms. Injections begin once or twice weekly with weaker solutions, advancing to shots of progressively stronger solutions until maintenance level is reached. The allergen injections “teaches” the body’s immune system not to respond in an allergic manner to the offending substances. Over time, it’s possible to lower the body’s “allergic response” to these environmental allergens, both improving symptoms and decreasing the need for medications. The total duration of the immunotherapy treatment varies by patient, but most patients are treated for 3 to 5 years.