Allergen drops take a shot at allergies

By Shayna Brouker • Published: June 4th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Wheezing, coughing, sneezing, itching. Achoo! Allergy season is behind us, but for snifflers who suffer year-round a simple solution may be in store — especially for those who don’t do well with needles.

It’s called drop therapy, or sublingual immunotherapy, officially, and a new study from Johns Hopkins University found that it may be just as effective as painful weekly visits to the doctor for shots. Immunotherapy involves gradually exposing the body to small amounts of whatever spurs an allergic reaction, like pet dander, mold or pollen. The point is to treat the source of allergies rather than just the symptoms. Forty percent of Americans suffer from allergic asthma, and drop therapy is designed for those who don’t respond well to traditional allergy medicines.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that drop therapy reduced symptoms like coughing, ,, and tightness in the chest 40 percent better than other treatments. It also carries a lower risk of strong allergic reaction, unlike shots, since the dose is so small. Side effects can include a swollen tongue, sore throat, swollen tongue, and itchy lips, tongue and mouth. It’s easier for kids to take since it doesn’t involve a big scary needle, and you can even do it at home.

All it takes is placing a small amount of the allergen in the form of a drop or tablet under your tongue and then swallowing. Your doctor will slowly up the amount of allergen you ingest, and within a few years your symptoms could be minimal or gone.

Some other alternative allergy treatments include leukotriene inhibitors, mast cell inhibitors, nasal sprays and even dehumidifiers for mold, mildew or dust mite. Try what works for you. Allergies don’t have to be so annoying.