Physicians like Agren have waited for years for the FDA to smile on sublingual immunotherapy. In Europe, it is so popular that at least half of all allergy treatment is given sublingually.
Tempe, Arizona (PRWEB) April 29, 2014
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) - an oral version of allergy injections - has been around for at least three decades. Doctors who use it are often loyal fans because of the compliance it engenders.
"Patients are much more apt to stick with SLIT than with shots because they can administer it at home," said Dr. Stuart Agren, founder of a nationwide network of allergy clinics known as AllergyEasy.
One big limitation of allergy shots is that they have to be administered at the doctor's office due to a heightened risk of anaphylactic reaction. Sublingual immunotherapy is safer, though, so it can be taken anytime, anywhere.
Physicians like Agren have waited for years for the FDA to smile on sublingual immunotherapy. In Europe, it is so popular that at least half of all allergy treatment is given sublingually. The World Health Organization affirms it, and a large body of scientific studies show it to be both effective and safe-even for children under 5.
In April, the FDA finally gave sublingual immunotherapy a nod by approving an allergy tablet called Oralair. Oralair contains extracts of grass pollens. As a patient takes the tablet (which absorbs under the tongue), their body becomes accustomed to these pollens and stops overreacting when it encounters them in nature. It's the same concept behind allergy shots except that with shots, the pollen extracts are mixed into a saline solution and injected into the skin.
Whether the treatment is delivered through shots or sublingual tablets, the big advantage to this type of treatment (known as immunotherapy) is that it treats the underlying allergic disease for lasting relief. (Medications like antihistamines treat symptoms only.)
As people become more pressed for time, Dr. Agren said that sublingual immunotherapy is growing in popularity.
"People just don't have time to drive to the doctor's office every week for shots," said Dr. Agren. "Sublingual immunotherapy is the wave of the future."
Dr. Agren has not yet prescribed Oralair but he and his fellow physicians at AllergyEasy clinics across the country have had great success with another type of sublingual immunotherapy that uses oral drops to desensitize the body to pollen. While Oralair only contains grass pollens, Dr. Agren said that the allergy serum he prescribes contains dozens of the most prevalent allergens for broad coverage against pet allergies, mold, trees, bushes, and grasses.
Even before FDA approval of sublingual immunotherapy options, doctors could still prescribe things like oral allergy drops "off-label." This is not only legal but is very common and allows doctors to prescribe approved medications in new ways. (For example, doctors often prescribe beta blockers "off label" for heart problems.)
Even though allergies are becoming more and more prevalent in America, a modest percentage of sufferers get immunotherapy treatment-often because they don't want the hassle of allergy shots.
Dr. Agren hopes that will change with the new FDA approval.
For more information on AllergyEasy visit allergyeasy.com or call Melissa at 1-480-827-0038.
2033 E Warner Road, Suite 102
Tempe, AZ 85284