Allergy Shots Soon to Be Thing of the Past?
Many of you know that I offer a full suite of allergy testing services at my L.A. sinus practice. The reason is simple: allergies remain a primary culprit in many sinus symptoms, from congestion and breathing difficulties to headaches and pain.
The most common prescription for serious allergies is to scrub your environment of the offending allergen. For most people, this means avoiding dogs and cats, or sealing the house up and investing in a HEPA filter. But medications can offer some relief as well, from OTC options such as Zyrtec and Clarinex to doctor-prescribed medications such as nasal steroid sprays and antihistamine sprays. The nuclear option, however, is to receive weekly or biweekly allergy shots.
Recently two of the major drug companies announced that they have come up with a far less painful and invasive method for administering the same powerful anti-allergy results as injections. The new approach uses sublingual drops, medicine that dissolves under the tongue. Although early results look promising, there is one drawback: The drops are currently single-allergy-only, and cannot be combined into bespoke mixtures like injections can:
Still, some studies suggest that the sublingual therapy may not be quite as effective as injections. Also, the tablets contain only specific allergens, such as for grass; shots are customized by allergists to contain multiple extracts, such as for weeds, dust mites and so on, to match a patient’s allergies.
“It’s rare that somebody comes in and they are just allergic to one grass,” said Dr. Rohit K. Katial, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver. “Generally, people who are allergic tend to be allergic to multiple things.”
Still, this is a good start that could offer real relief to millions, and might someday help allergy sufferers do away with needles altogether.