Subcutaneous Immunotherapy is a form of immunotherapy treatment for those suffering from allergy-induced rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, urticaria (hives), or dermatitis (eczema). 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. Immunotherapy involves introducing increasing doses of an allergen that triggers allergic reactions to the body over a period of time. This treatment is administered under the direct supervision of an allergy specialist in a healthcare setting.
During your initial visit, your doctor will discuss the history of your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and identify your specific allergens through testing. Testing may involve either a skin test or a blood test. With these results, your doctor will create a mixture containing proteins from the substances that trigger your allergic symptoms that can be delivered via subcutaneous injection in a healthcare setting. Because of the possibility of experiencing an adverse reaction to your injections, after receiving them, you will need to wait at least 30 minutes in our office for your own safety, as severe reactions typically occur within that time. However, mild side effects are common, and these include:
- Redness, warmth, swelling, and/or itching at the injection site
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose, nasal congestion, or postnasal drip (mucus running down the back of your throat)
In very rare cases, patients undergoing immunotherapy will experience anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening reaction that involves difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure, angioedema (bodily swelling), and/or dizziness that requires immediate medical attention.
At Frontier Allergy Asthma or Immunology, patients have the choice between undergoing traditional immunotherapy or cluster immunotherapy. Both forms of immunotherapy involve two phases: the build-up phase and the maintenance phase. During the build-up phase, you start immunotherapy at the lowest dose and gradually increase once a week until a maintenance dose is reached. This is when the maintenance phase is reached. For the remainder of the year, this dose remains constant and injections are given once every 2-4 weeks. This protocol is decided by your allergy specialist based on your individual needs. To reach a certain level of tolerance, patients usually undergo immunotherapy for a duration of 3-5 years, and each year you will be re-evaluated to observe how your allergies have progressed and what changes can be made to your allergen mixture.
This form of immunotherapy requires 1-2 allergy shot visits per week for about 6 months.
This form of immunotherapy, also known as rapid desensitization, is an accelerated shot schedule that shortens the build-up phase compared to the traditional immunotherapy option. Rather than requiring 3-6 months to build up to the maintenance phase, cluster immunotherapy allows an individual to achieve maintenance in 6-8 weeks by receiving up to three rounds of injections in one visit. However, this route of build-up will require longer office visits during those first 6-8 weeks, as patients must be monitored for signs of an adverse allergic reaction for 30-45 minutes after each round of injections.
Regardless of how you get to your maintenance phase, immunotherapy achieves results through a consistent maintenance schedule for the duration of 3-5 years. Although your allergy symptoms will likely improve within the first year of immunotherapy, long-term results that can last an additional 5-15 years requires adhering to the shot schedule your doctor prescribes.
Next stepsIf 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment today! Book an appointment
Written by: Dr. Neha Reshamwala
NPI number: 1780874578
Page last reviewed: 03/20/21