Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) Drops
If you are one of the more than 50 million people in America who suffer from allergies every year, then you likely have tried a variety of ways to get relief. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), allergies compromise the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States. You’ve likely heard of allergy shots as a method of relief. These days, though, excitement is being generated by a different kind of treatment: SLIT drops.
What are SLIT Drops?
SLIT stands for sublingual immunotherapy. The process involves putting allergen extracts in the form of drops under your tongue instead of injecting it into your arm like allergy shots. Some people call this treatment sublingual drops or allergy drops. This method of allergy treatment has been used in Europe for a number of years and is now becoming popular in the United States.
SLIT Drops and the FDA
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with approving all medications. Though sublingual drops are used often in Europe, there are few formulations that have been approved by the FDA as of this writing. Odactra was approved by the agency for the treatment of conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis in 2017. Two other formulations — Oralair and Grazax — were approved for the treatment of grass allergies in 2014. That same year, the FDA also approved Ragwitek for use by those suffering from ragweed allergy.
Is taking SLIT Drops Effective?
According to studies, SLIT drops as a treatment for certain allergic diseases such as allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis seems to be the most effective. Additionally, the safety of this treatment has been documented for more than 10 years. Sublingual drops have never caused a fatal or serious reaction during that time.
SLIT Drops and Safety
This safety is a particularly compelling reason to turn to SLIT drops. For almost 100 years, allergy shots have been used to treat allergic conditions such as allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, venom allergy, and allergic conjunctivitis. Though they have gained approval from the FDA, traditional allergy shots can only be administered in your doctor’s office because of the potential for serious side effects.
Compared to allergy shots, sublingual drops cause only mild and moderate side effects in a small number of people. The most common of these include irritation of the mouth, lips, and tongue. Other side effects that might be present are redness of the eyes, sneezing, eye swelling, vomiting, itchy eyes, and congestion.
How to Take SLIT Drops
Prior to treatment with sublingual drops, you first must undergo allergy testing to determine what your body is sensitive to. The allergy team prepares a formulation of drops that targets your allergens. In some cases, you might use a tablet instead of drops.
Usually, you will need to place these drops or tablets under your tongue for one or two minutes before you swallow them. The frequency of treatment depends on the severity of your sensitivities. Your doctor might recommend that you repeat this treatment every few days or even each day.
BackFit Health + Spine provides comprehensive allergy skin testing as well as SLIT treatment that is specific to the allergens found in Arizona. These sublingual drops are applied at home for a period of nine weeks. They eliminate the inconvenience of having to visit the doctor’s office often. Contact BackFit Health + Spine for more information.