SLIT, or sublingual immunotherapy, is an increasingly popular method of treating allergies. It is similar to immunotherapy (allergy shots), but instead of needles, the medicine is taken orally. It’s ideal for pediatric patients whose allergies most likely haven’t progressed to an advanced stage, and can be helpful in preventing asthma in some patients.
The goal of SLIT is to enable the body to build up a tolerance to a specific allergen by introducing it through controlled doses over a period of time. Gradually the size of the dosage is increased, and the immune system becomes less sensitive to it.
In children, the benefits are especially strong. Studies show that SLIT not only decreases the immunological response to allergens, but it prevents the onset of new allergic reactions and, as previously stated, has been shown to limit the onset of asthma in patients who suffer from allergic rhinitis.
From a safety standpoint, SLIT is considered a better choice for children because traditional allergy shots carry a risk of severe side effects in younger patients. Additionally, the medication consists of drops that are kept under the tongue for a minute or two and then swallowed, so home-based treatment is easily managed.
Children suffering from allergies (hay fever, dust mites, animal dander, etc.) that are unresponsive to medical treatment are good candidates for SLIT. The first step involves finding out which allergen is triggering your child’s immune response. Once that has been identified through allergy skin testing, an extract is prepared in drop form to be taken daily. The full course of treatment lasts three to five years.
Call Dr. Sipp at (404) 591-1426 for more information or to schedule an appointment.