Food allergies can make everyday menu planning a challenge, disrupt school activities, and cause life-threatening reactions. Board Certified, Dr. Michael Nusbaum, wants to help patients get the highest quality care, including managing their food allergies. Seasonal allergies can cause you to fear spending time outside or enjoying your day, and Dr. Nusbaum and his staff want to get you and or your family enjoying life to its fullest.
What is sublingual immunotherapy?
Sublingual immunotherapy, often called allergy drops, works like allergy shots by gradually helping your body build a tolerance to the antigens or substance(s) that cause your allergies. The difference is that the antigen is placed under your tongue in a customized liquid form.
What is an antigen?
An antigen is an allergy-causing substance such as pollen, mold, pet danders, and specific foods such as dairy, peanuts, fish, wheat, corn, and eggs, among many others.
How do I know I am getting treatment customized for me?
At Nusbaum Medical Centers, we advocate for custom sublingual immunotherapy that is based on your specific allergens, and at your level of sensitivity — matching your allergic fingerprint. The La Crosse Method™ Protocol follows this philosophy. Treatment is matched to your test results, and gradually becomes stronger based on how you respond to treatment — it does not follow a “one size fits all” formula that doesn’t take your individual response, lifestyle, and medical history into account. This precise approach helps ensure your treatment isn’t higher or lower than needed for your body to respond. You can ask your provider if their approach follows this philosophy of treatment to be sure it is customized for you.
What kind of allergies can be treated with allergy drops?
One of the benefits of sublingual immunotherapy is that it can treat a broad range of allergies, including those caused by:
- Dust Mites
- Seasonal pollens such as grass, trees, ragweed, and mountain cedar
Who should take allergy drops?
Anyone interested in treating the cause of their allergic disease, instead of just temporarily managing symptoms, can consider allergy drops. Although most allergy sufferers can benefit from allergy drops, they’re especially ideal for people who can’t tolerate or don’t respond to allergy shots, as well as those who are unable to commit to other therapies and long-term medication use. These people include:
- Infants and children*
- People with highly sensitive conditions including EoE
- Those who don’t like needles
- Those with chronic conditions including sinusitis and eczema
- Those with food and mold allergies
- Those with multiple allergies including dust mites, pollen, foods, and animals
* Allergy drops have proven especially helpful for children with eczema and recurrent ear infections, which often have underlying allergic causes. Research shows that many children with untreated eczema and allergies often develop asthma and other chronic conditions later in life, so treating them early can have life-long benefits and may prevent the development of other allergies and asthma.
What are the advantages of allergy drops?
In addition to being a viable option for people of all ages and conditions, there are more advantages:
- Lower cost, fewer clinic visits. Compared to shots and many medications, allergy drops typically cost less over time. Most patients receiving allergy drops need only a few clinic visits the first year, and then once every 6-12 months thereafter until visits are no longer needed. That can also mean a lot less time away from work or school.
- More convenient. You can take allergy drops at home or wherever you are, making it much easier to stay with your treatment.
- Less medication. Our patients report, and research confirms, that they typically need less medication to control symptoms after beginning allergy drops.
- Enjoy healthier days. The end benefit of taking drops consistently? Feeling better, more productive and better able to enjoy life and activities that allergies once made it hard to enjoy.
What are the ingredients in sublingual immunotherapy?
Each prescription is a custom solution for each patient according to the type and severity of his or her allergy. Drop prescriptions contain custom amounts of the allergen the patient is found to be allergic to upon testing. Antigens are put into a glycerin solution for stability. There are no additional preservatives in the drops.
How long will I need to take my drops?
Most patients take allergy drops three times daily for 3-5 years, but it varies according to the severity of the allergies, seasonality, and how adherent they are to their treatment. Many patients see symptoms improve within a few weeks to months, but need to keep using the drops through the full course of therapy to get a long-term benefit. For some patients with complex health conditions or a severe allergy, treatment length may vary.
Treatment doses are adjusted over time based on your specific test results and response (your allergic fingerprint) rather than a one-size-fits-all treatment approach. This custom way of matching your dose — uniquely to you — helps you build tolerance without unnecessarily increasing your risk of reactions.