(Sublingual Immunotherapy) SLIT, otherwise known as allergy drops, is a convenient and painless alternative treatment method to allergy shots. Patients place drops of allergen extracts underneath the tongue for a few minutes and then swallow. SLIT is safe and effective for the treatment of allergies related to dust mites, grass, ragweed, pet dander, and tree pollens. Although SLIT has not yet been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), it has been used in Europe for over 10 years and is rapidly gaining acceptance in the United States. In addition, the antigens used to develop the custom SLIT have been approved by the FDA. SLIT has won the approval of the World Allergy Organization (WAO).
How do I take SLIT?
SLIT is painless and can be administered by the patient in the comfort of his/her own home. SLIT comes in a dropper or pump bottle, and the drops are placed under the tongue. The liquid is then held under the tongue for 2 minutes before swallowing. It is recommended that the patient continue to use SLIT year-round as opposed to a seasonal treatment. This allows the allergen extracts to desensitize the body to what it is allergic to.
Is SLIT safe for children?
SLIT has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment for children with the following conditions: eczema, recurrent ear infections, severe asthma, chronic sinusitis, food and mold allergies, patients with multiple allergies, and allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Parents should administer SLIT to young children.
What are the side effects?
There have not been any reports or documented evidence of fatal reactions to SLIT in the past 10 years, and serious reactions to SLIT are extremely rare. According to studies, side effects occur only in one out of every 12,000 doses and can include:
• Asthma-like symptoms
• Hives, itching, and swelling of the skin
• Itchy or swollen eyes
• Nausea, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea
• Sneezing, congestion, and nasal itching
Who should not use SLIT?
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Women who are nursing, unless approved by their doctor and patients who have flu like symptoms, fever, wheezing, hives, rash, and/or chest infection.
Is SLIT effective?
Studies show SLIT can be as effective as allergy injections. However, desired results while taking SLIT may take longer to achieve.
The first modern clinical trials were conducted in the 1980’s and 1990’s. These trials confirmed that SLIT is safe and effective.
What does SLIT taste like?
Because they contain glycerin, SLIT drops have a pleasant, sweet taste.
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