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Allergy Drops

Austin's allergies present a unique challenge to its newcomers, as the abundance of local flora, such as elm, oak, cedar, and ash, can cause various symptoms for those with seasonal allergies. As such, individuals need to be aware of the potential consequences of relocating to or visiting Austin.

Immunotherapy treatments such as allergy shots or drops can effectively manage allergy symptoms, as they increase the body's resistance to allergens. This may also help to avert other related illnesses, including asthma. In Central Texas, this could be particularly beneficial during cedar and oak season.

Allergy drops is an oral immunotherapy used to help fight against allergic reactions to common allergens in the air like pollen, mold, mites, and animal dander. This allergen drops work on a similar principle as allergy shots do - gradually exposing the body to these elements to build up resistance (or at least tolerance) over time. They are an alternative to allergy shots treatment for those patients who do not respond to shots.

Oral Immunotherapy is an extensively tested, safe, and effective immunotherapy treatment for those suffering from allergy-induced rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, urticaria (hives), or dermatitis (eczema). This form of immunotherapy can be effective for those suffering from symptoms caused by a number of airborne allergens, such as pollen, grass, weeds, molds, pet dander, and dust mites.

Upon evaluation of your specific allergen(s) by our certified allergy specialist, Dr. Reshamwala, she will create a mixture of allergen extracts unique to your needs. This mixture can be taken in either a tablet or liquid drop form under the tongue on a daily basis. Upon starting oral immunotherapy, detailed information and a demonstration on safe and effective use will be provided in our clinic, in person. However, outside of this initial office visit, regular follow-ups, and yearly remix assessments, oral immunotherapy can be performed entirely at home, which is a convenient benefit many individuals enjoy. As with allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy), allergy drops must be taken over a period of three to five years to develop immunity, even though symptoms may improve after just a few months of use.

How do Allergy Drops Work?

Allergy drops belong to a type of allergy therapy called oral immunotherapy. With this method, you are given small doses of the allergen in question over an extended period of time until your body develops less of a negative reaction and can then comfortably handle higher or larger doses. When the allergen is placed under your tongue - as opposed to being swallowed with liquid - it's given the name “allergy drops”.

Types of Allergy Drops

  • Inhalant/environmental allergy drops - Treats hay fever or allergies to things like dust mites, pollens, pet dander and molds, helping build tolerance to these substances.
  • Food allergy treatment drops -Treats a full range of food allergies by helping build tolerance and reducing risk of severe reactions in case of accidental food exposure (including peanuts, nuts, fish, milk, eggs, etc.).
  • Pre-seasonal allergy drops - Treats those with strong reactions to seasonal allergies including grass, trees including mountain cedar (cedar fever) and ragweed, by helping them build tolerance to problem allergens before the allergy season hits, so symptoms are few when pollen is high.

Duration of the Allergy Drops Treatment

Allergy drops efficacy is much more than allergy shots. Allergy drops take less time to show results in patients suffering from allergic symptoms. It is usually observed that for allergic reactions to subside allergy drops take a months’ time or even less.

Benefits of Allergy Drops

In addition to being a viable option for people of all ages, there are other advantages to allergy drops. These benefits include:

  • Convenience - Patients can take allergy drops from wherever, whenever, making it much easier.
  • Cost effective - Allergy drops are generally a cheaper alternative to traditional methods of allergy resistance.
  • Less maintenance - Most patients receiving allergy drops need only a few office visits the first year, and once every 6-12 months thereafter.
  • Less medication - Patients typically need less medication to control symptoms after beginning allergy drops.

Those who benefit the most from environmental allergy drops include:

  • Individuals uncomfortable with needles
  • People with busy schedules that prevent regular office visits
  • Individuals with a history of beta-blocker usage who cannot receive shots (please note that individuals currently taking beta-blockers cannot undergo immunotherapy due to increased risk of severe anaphylaxis)
  • Those with a history of severe anaphylaxis due to allergy shots

Those who may not benefit from environmental allergy drops include:

  • Anyone with severe food allergies
  • Those who suffer from oral allergy syndrome
  • Individuals who react to a wide variety of allergens

Individuals undergoing oral immunotherapy have commonly reported mild side effects of use, such as an itchy mouth. However, more moderate or severe side effects are much less common, and developing a severe anaphylactic reaction after taking allergy drops is exceedingly rare. Despite this, for your own safety, Dr. Reshamwala recommends patients premedicate prior to sublingual drop use and have an injectable epinephrine pen on hand. 

Allergy drop therapy has historically not been covered by most insurances, however, if your allergist and you believe this is the best option for you, feel free to contact your insurance provider for an estimate on cost and coverage. 

In addition, you may have heard that allergy drop therapy is not FDA-approved. However, the same allergen extracts that are used in subcutaneous shot therapy are used in sublingual drop therapy. Rather, it is the method of administration (tablets or bottled drops versus injections) that is considered “off-label.” Allergists across the nation recommend this type of legal, widely-accepted therapy to their patients.

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Next steps

If you are interested in further discussion about your specific needs, Dr. Reshamwala is happy to see you and answer any questions you may have. Please call 512-382-1933 or email to schedule an appointment today! Book an appointment

Written by: Dr. Neha Reshamwala
NPI number: 1780874578
Page last reviewed: 03/20/21

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