Allergen immunotherapy is an ideal option for patients suffering from severe hay fever symptoms. It involves the repeated administration of allergen vaccines over a period of 3 to 5 years. The aim of immunotherapy is for the patient to have a significant reduction in symptoms for many years forth after the completion of the course.
It is also highly recommended for patients with life threatening bee and wasp allergies as the risk of a severe reaction upon a sting can be greatly reduced.
Allergen immunotherapy is also recommended for patients with rhinitis and asthma due to aero-allergens such as dust mite and grass pollens, and also known to be beneficial for patients who suffer severe atopic dermatitis.
We commonly provide allergen immunotherapy for dust mite, grass pollens, cat and dog allergies.
Subcutanous allergen immunotherapy
The most common form of immunotherapy currently is via injections. The first dose is always to be administered by a specialist doctor, subsequent doses may be administered by your local family doctor.
This treatment involves weekly injections for approximately 3 months where the dose is slowly increased to a certain concentration, then followed by the “maintenance phase” of regular administration of the vaccines for the remainder of the course.
Common side effects
Some patients may develop local swelling at the site of injection, increased hay fever symptoms and there is a risk of anaphylaxis.
For this reason, it is extremely important that patients wait for 45 minutes after each and every injection at the clinic for observation. Injections should only be administered at a medical facility where proper and immediate treatment are readily available for anaphylaxis.
Taking antihistamines beforehand may help to reduce, control and possibly prevent side effects.
Sublingual allergen immunotherapy
Drops or tablets to be placed under the tongue for 2 minutes to be absorbed. This is a safe treatment to be administered at home, but it must be done daily. The first dose must be administered by a specialist doctor.
Common side effects
Some patients may experience irritation, swelling or itch inside the mouth as well as stomach upset and nausea. Taking antihistamines before the daily dose may help to reduce and control the common side effects.
The risk of severe side effects is extremely low.