One in four people are affected by allergy. Allergy presents itself in many ways, including rhinitis, conjunctivitis, dermatitis, urticaria, asthma and food allergies. It is the third most common chronic disease of children and the fifth in all ages. Currently immunotherapy is the only treatment option that can reduce the symptoms of allergy without requiring ongoing treatment.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy has been the only treatment option for many years. There are difficulties with the need for frequent injections, as well as not infrequent adverse reactions.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a new and promising treatment for patients affected by allergy. The evidence for its efficacy in treating a range of symptoms as well as overall quality of life is now well established. It has an excellent safety profile, superior to that of subcutaneous immunotherapy and does not require injections.
Sublingual immunotherapy decreases the use of allergy medications, including nasal steroids, antihistamines and leukotriene inhibitors, which can be costly. This is particularly relevant when it is noted that use of these medications is usually life-long. With immunotherapy there is a possibility of complete discontinuation of allergy medications.
Sublingual immunotherapy is more time-efficient for patients than subcutaneous immunotherapy. Treatments are kept and taken at home, and there is no need to come into the office.