Immunotherapy (aka allergy injections or allergy shots) is the only treatment currently available with the potential to change the natural history of allergic disease. That means that, unlike temporary improvement with medications, it can potentially lead to a permanent cure.
Immunotherapy is utilized for the treatment of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (allergic nose and eye symptoms), allergic asthma and serious bee venom allergy. Allergy injections also seem to significantly reduce the risk of developing asthma in children with hay fever when started early enough. The prolonged clinical remission induced by 3 to 5 years of subcutaneous immunotherapy is associated with a persistent alteration in immunologic reactivity, meaning that long-term changes in the immune system can be achieved.
Allergy injections involve giving repeated subcutaneous injections of a specifically formulated allergy extract. This extract is custom-tailored and contains the specific allergens causing problems for the nose, eyes and lungs of the affected person.
Allergy injections often allow for a decrease or even potentially discontinuation of allergy and asthma medications. However, do not expect immediate improvement as it may take 6 to 12 months to feel better.
Side effects are usually limited to localized reactions such as swelling and tenderness at the injection site. While less common, systemic reactions can occur and are the reason that allergy injections are given in the doctor’s office with an appropriate wait time (30 minutes) following each injection.
Allergy injections are considered a standard treatment for environmental allergies, allergic asthma and bee allergies and thus usually covered by medical insurance. However, as always, you should check with your insurance or our billing professionals.
Please ask your allergy doctor or nurse practitioner whether this treatment may be beneficial for you.