Allergy shots without the Shot! (Article)

Allergy Shots without the Shot!   Allergists are beginning to retire those time honored allergy SHOTS, and instead, use under the tongue allergy DROPS to accomplish the same thing; to reduce the amount of asthma, food allergy, runny nose, and eczema a child might suffer. It’s called (sublingual immunotherapy) or SLIT.  SLIT is a new type of allergy therapy and is under intensive study by experts.  Not only does it not involve those nasty needles like (subcutaneous immunotherapy) SCIT, but also it seems to possibly be safer and equally effective for younger children. Traditional allergy shots are usually not given to children under age 5 years, but not SLIT.   SLIT may turn out to be a great alternative for children under 5.   Sublingual immunotherapy is still in the research phase and not ready for prime time just quite yet.  Like all medical therapies, it has some side effects like a taste that some children find unpleasant and some oral itching and gastrointestinal symptoms.  Fortunately, life -threatening reactions have not been seen to date. It also requires a long treatment course of years to show effectiveness.   Currently, a pediatric allergist with North Carolina connections, Dr. Wesley Burkes, is making history learning how to make peanut allergic children and adults tolerant of peanuts using SLIT.  This is important because currently, reactions to peanuts are the most common allergic reaction to food that kills children in the US. To date, he has had quite a bit of success in helping patients build tolerance.  His pioneering work may make it possible sometime soon for children with peanut allergy not to fear restaurants, birthday parties, cafeterias, and maybe even enjoy a candy bar with some peanuts once in a while. Let’s hope. Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com.  Share your knowledge. Until next time.

Smo Notes:

1. http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2013/january/sublingual-immunotherapy-shows-promise-as-treatment-for-peanut-allergy

Written collaboratively by Catherine Wu and Paul Smolen MD

2 Comments

  1. Angie says:

    I sure hope this works! My son has been on immunotherapy shots now for over a year and it started out two shots a day two to three times a week and he is now down to two shots once a week. He is 9 (started right after he turned 8) and I feel so bad for him having to go get these shots every week. His poor little arms swell when he starts new vials and get puffy, red and hard; and he still has to take all his other asthma and allergy meds too on top of the shots. It is such a big commitment and at this point we cannot stop or all this time would have been a huge waste of time. Hopefully this new treatment will help some child not have to go through what mine has to every week and a parent won’t have to sit by helplessly and watch because there is nothing you can do and while you know in your mind this is going to be helpful in the long-run, those kids don’t see the long-run, they just know they are getting shots non-stop! I will certainly be on the look-out for news on the new therapy!

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