Antihistamines are not the long-term solution for allergies
If you struggle with seasonal allergies, you’ve probably grown accustomed to popping an antihistamine in the morning to mitigate your stuffy nose, itchy eyes, or other symptoms. And, while antihistamines can certainly make the symptoms of your allergies less prominent, they don’t actually address the underlying cause of those symptoms: the allergy itself.
An estimated 78% of seasonal allergy sufferers use over-the-counter medications to treat their symptoms, but only 5% of those people have taken a step to address the underlying allergy through immunotherapy. Why?
Part of the challenge is the decreasing number of allergy specialists in the United States today. There simply aren’t enough allergists to manage all the allergy sufferers in the United States. The other part of the challenge is that many people don’t know immunotherapy even exists.
So, if you’re curious about immunotherapy and how it benefits those suffering from allergies, read on.
What is immunotherapy for allergies?
Allergy immunotherapy is a proactive treatment that essentially desensitizes the body to certain allergens over time. It involves gradually administering larger doses of allergens, which trains your immune system to decrease the production of certain allergen-specific antibodies (IgE), minimizing future reactions.
Allergy immunotherapy can be administered by injection, drops, or tablets placed under the tongue. Most often, though, it’s given through a series of injections containing the substances a person is allergic to. Over time, the treatment dose is increased, helping your body build a tolerance to it.
There are two phases of allergy treatment. First is the build-up phase, where treatment is delivered with increasing doses of allergen one to two times per week for up to six months. Then is the maintenance phase, where the patient reaches their target treatment dose and the frequency of shots decreases, usually down to one or two times per month.
It can take several years for immunotherapy to train your body to minimize reactions to offending allergens, but most people experience long-term relief from their symptoms after finishing treatment. In fact, over 85% of patients report a significant reduction in allergy symptoms with allergy treatment. .
Does immunotherapy work for food allergies?
Unfortunately, immunotherapy injections are not currently used to treat food allergies, but there is growing research that this same concept of helping the body build a tolerance for allergens could be an effective treatment for food allergies. In other words, if you slowly introduce food allergens to the body and allow the body to build a tolerance to them, then food allergies can be reversed or the effects minimized.
The FDA recently voted to support the approval of a specific oral immunotherapy (OIT) product meant to reduce the incidence and severity of peanut allergic reactions.
While there is still a lot of research to be done around the use of immunotherapy to treat food allergies, it’s still a very effective way to treat non-food allergies.
Benefits of immunotherapy for allergies
The biggest benefit of immunotherapy for allergies is the long-term relief from allergy symptoms, like runny nose, itchy eyes, or allergic asthma. Daily antihistamines simply mask the symptoms of an allergy and don’t actually reduce the body’s response to an allergen, but allergy immunotherapy gets to the root cause of the symptoms and is more effective at minimizing them long-term.
Allergy immunotherapy is most beneficial for those with non-food allergies — like cats or pollen, for example — and they can decrease not only discomfort from symptoms but save you money in the long run when you don’t need to take a daily antihistamine.
Allercare offers allergy testing and immunotherapy for primary care providers
Because of the current shortage of allergists in the United States, many people who want to utilize immunotherapy for their allergies can’t get the treatment they need. So, Allercare has created a way for other healthcare professionals to offer the same testing and immunotherapy treatment patients would get from an allergist.
We make it easy for healthcare teams to learn how to test for and treat allergies using Allercare’s system. Your patients will appreciate the convenience and allergy care from their trusted provider.
If you’re ready to take control of your allergy symptoms, ask your doctor if they’re using Allercare’s innovative testing and treatment system.
Interested in learning more about how Allercare can help you boost patient retention and clinic revenue? Reach out to us today.