Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) drops is a treatment for asthma and allergic diseases that desensitizes individuals to allergens by delivering a precise, measured dose of allergy extracts to stimulate your immune system – but not enough to cause a full-blown allergic reaction.
It is similar to subcutaneous immunotherapy (i.e., allergy shots), except that the allergy extracts are placed under the tongue and affect the immune system through specialized cells that are found under the tongue. Subcutaneous immunotherapy is delivered in small doses, but sublingual immunotherapy should be delivered in larger doses in order to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.
How Do Sublingual Drops Work?
The dose of allergens is gradually increased over time. This helps the body’s immune system build up a tolerance to the allergens, which can reduce and/or eliminate your allergy symptoms over time. The mixture and concentration of allergen extracts in each prescription s determined by the ordering physician. Eventually, SLIT reaches a maintenance phase during which the dose remains the same.
According to studies, sublingual immunotherapy is generally well-tolerated with minimal side effects. It is also easier to administer than allergy shots. The sublingual drops can be self-administered at home without the time commitment and hassle of scheduling frequent visits to the office.
In addition to sublingual drops, there are three FDA approved sublingual tablets for grass, pollen and dust allergies.