Cluster Immunotherapy provides a way for patients to achieve their maximum maintenance dose within weeks rather than months, allowing patients to achieve long-lasting allergy relief in fewer overall office visits. Immunotherapy helps build the body’s tolerance to an allergen that triggers allergic symptoms by introducing increasing doses of the substance through subcutaneous injection.
What is immunotherapy?
During an immunotherapy treatment, there are two phases that patients go through. The first phase is the build-up phase, where patients start at the lowest possible dose of their allergen and incrementally build-up over a period of time to reach their maintenance dose. This is when a patient will reach their second phase, the maintenance phase. During the maintenance phase, you will receive the same maximum dose of your allergen once every 2-4 weeks.
How is Cluster Immunotherapy different from Traditional Immunotherapy?
Traditional immunotherapy requires 1-2 allergy shot visits per week (up to one every 5 days depending on your symptoms and your doctor’s recommendation) for about 6 months during the build-up phase. With each appointment, patients must be observed in the office for at least 30 minutes after receiving their injection in the rare case a patient experiences an adverse reaction (such as anaphylaxis).
Patients who suffer from their allergies on a daily or weekly basis to the point that their symptoms affect school, work, and/or daily activities often wish for a faster build-up phase in order to achieve some relief from their symptoms. At Frontier Allergy Asthma and Immunology, we offer cluster immunotherapy so that patients can achieve just that.
With an accelerated cluster schedule, patients can reach their maintenance dose in 6-8 weeks. During each visit, patients will receive 2-3 rounds of injections. After each round of injections, patients must wait for 30-45 minutes in the office to be observed for adverse allergic reactions. Therefore, cluster immunotherapy appointments during the build-up phase will take around 60-90 minutes.
How should I prepare for my Cluster Immunotherapy?
Cluster Immunotherapy is not for everyone. People who have experienced anaphylaxis in the past or people who have poorly controlled asthma are generally advised not to undergo cluster immunotherapy. However, you and your allergist can discuss this in detail during your initial consultation.
Throughout the build-up phase of your Cluster Immunotherapy, you will need to take medication daily to reduce the risk of adverse reactions to the injections. An additional antihistamine (such as Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra, or Xyzal) must be taken with an H2 blocker (such as Pepcid) within 60 minutes of your scheduled injection. This greatly reduces the risk of experiencing an adverse reaction while receiving your injections. In addition, you will need to bring an epinephrine self-injector to each shot appointment.
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 require 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