When standard allergy medications don’t help, your allergy symptoms are severe, or you want to stop taking medications, immunotherapy may be the solution you need. Katie Marks-Cogan, MD, FACAAI, and Raffi Tachdjian, MD, MPH, FAAAAI, at Clear Allergy expertly administer immunotherapy to speed up the process and relieve your symptoms sooner. To learn more about immunotherapy or to schedule an appointment, use online booking or call the office in Culver City, California.
Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is commonly administered using an injection, but that’s not the only option.
In some cases, Dr. Marks-Cogan and Dr. Tachdjian may prescribe sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), which is in the form of a tablet that dissolves under your tongue or in the form of a droplet placed under your tongue. SLIT, however, is administered on a different schedule than allergy shots.
Immunotherapy provides long-lasting relief from allergies because it desensitizes your immune system. Your therapy begins by injecting a very small amount of an allergen into your body. You’ll get just enough to stimulate your immune system, but not enough to cause a full-blown allergic reaction.
Dr. Marks-Cogan and Dr.Tachdjian administer allergy shots or SLIT following a regular schedule. With each treatment, you get a higher dose of allergen.
As the dose gradually increases, your immune system naturally builds up a tolerance to the allergen, so your allergic symptoms decrease.
Immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots follows two phases. In the build-up phase, you receive a gradually increasing dose of allergens 1-3 times a week to build up to your maintenance dose. The build-up phase can last anywhere from about a month to 3-6 months, depending on whether you choose cluster immunotherapy or the standard build-up.
During the maintenance phase, you’ll get allergy shots once every 2-4 weeks. This continues to build your tolerance.
Allergy symptoms will likely improve during the first year, but optimal results come over time. By the second or third year, most people are fairly desensitized, so they stop having significant allergic reactions.
Immunotherapy may be a good option if other methods of treatment aren’t effective in relieving your allergy symptoms. Dr. Marks-Cogan and Dr. Tachdjian perform in-office skin testing to determine the cause of your symptoms. They may recommend immunotherapy for:
Immunotherapy can also be effective for relieving symptoms of indoor allergies to dust and mold and for reducing sensitivities to pet dander and insect stings. The doctors may also recommend immunotherapy as part of your treatment for allergic asthma.
If your current treatment doesn’t help your allergy symptoms, it may be time to try immunotherapy. Call Clear Allergy or book an appointment online.