Treating an allergy’s underlying cause is the focus of sublingual immunotherapy (compared to over-the-counter and prescription drugs, which provide relief from symptoms).
One out of five Americans suffer from allergies. For some, allergies are simply a short lived nuisance; however for millions it’s a life altering disease. The only treatment that reprograms the overreacting immune system is immunotherapy, this involves gradual delivery of the substances that trigger allergies to acclimate the body to the world around it.
Currently in the U.S. an estimate 3 million people are in immunotherapy treatment. Almost all of these patients are seen by allergists and are treated with injection immunotherapy.
In other parts of the world physicians are expanding the use of immunotherapy by introducing the allergens to the body through the cells lining the mouth, (oral mucosa). This method is referred to as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). Up to seventy five percent of allergy sufferers in southern Europe use antigen drops under the tongue for their allergy treatment. According to a recent review of over 20 European studies, patients who received allergy drops experience a 42 % reduction in allergy symptoms and a 43% reduction in medication use in less than 3 years.
Through it’s safety profile SLIT allows patients who are not candidates for injection immunotherapyâ€¦children, highly reactive patients, asthmatics, and those with food allergies… to receive the benefits of immunotherapy. In our estimation, if those who could benefits from SLIT were under treatment, the current 3 million patients in immunotherapy would grow to 10-15 million.
Broader application, increased safety, ease of use, higher compliance and cost are all advantages of SLIT