The spring is about fun, but nearly one in four this season causes physical discomfort due to respiratory allergies. Fortunately, a new medical approach easy, accessible, and painless first appeared in Quebec: sublingual immunotherapy. Allergies are a real scourge with which many people must learn to live. The person who suffers from food allergies, seasonal or permanent (mites, molds) is systematically disturbed in their daily well-being and must learn to live with various symptoms: sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, itching, and hives, asthma and other respiratory problems, etc. In some cases, allergies particularly dangerous and even cause anaphylactic shock, sometimes fatal. For several years, some treatments are available to try to eliminate allergies in patients. The latest called sublingual immunotherapy. What he is, and especially how effective is it?
Allergies Disease: The treatments against allergies
The vast majority of people with allergies are content with taking anti-allergenic drugs during temporary crises: in the season for pollen allergies, or when they know they find themselves in the presence of a chat, for example. Or they are simply trying to avoid triggers (nuts, eggs, etc.) and keep their EpiPen nearby in case of emergency. Some people also choose “desensitized” by using subcutaneous immunotherapy. This method is exactly like a vaccine injected very small doses of the allergen responsible discomforts for the body to gradually get used to and can develop a tolerance to the allergen. Treatment usually lasts several years and the patient should receive a large number of bites before they notice improvement of symptoms.
Immunotherapy: A Short Brief
Immunotherapy involves the repetitive administration of carefully controlled doses of a substance to which one is allergic (allergens) to allow our immune system to develop tolerance. Sublingual immunotherapy based on the same principle of vaccines for allergies. This is the only way to “cure” our immune system or at least to influence the course of allergic diseases. Traditionally, these vaccines are given subcutaneous injections administered by a nurse or allergist himself in his office. Subcutaneous immunotherapy requires an observation period of 30 minutes for rare severe reactions but which require rapid medical intervention. Often, the allergist delegates to the family doctor that these injections are effective, to give several weeks early in the treatment of allergy, and continuously for the first three years.
- An effective technique to eliminate allergies
Immunotherapy, a technical treatment of respiratory allergies, is an approach that seeks to suppress entirely allergy in the patient. Thus, the immunotherapy comprises administering on a regular basis, a previously quantified dose of the allergen. This approach aims to immunize the patient to the allergen by accustoming the body thereto. The treatment is given in two ways, by injection or sublingually. The first involves injecting small doses of allergens under the skin well before the arrival of spring. Then, people opting for this approach will make a visit to their doctor once a week, and over a period of 3 to 5 years.
The second approach used to deposit the allergen under the tongue and administered at home but advised to follow the doctor every 4 to 6 months for a period of about 3-5 years. Unlike other approaches known to fight allergies, antihistamines (Claritin, Reactine, etc.) and corticosteroids (prescription drugs), immunotherapy is to eliminate the allergy rather than just hide the symptoms.
Respiratory allergies, spring scourge
Respiratory allergies are known to bring their lot of inconvenience to those who suffer. In this connection, about 25% of the population suffer multiple symptoms of allergies: nasal congestion, continuous sneezing, asthma, stinging the eyes, and more. Then, to this day, there were very few satisfactory solutions to these problems. A new approach has entered the Quebec market: immunotherapy.
Sublingual immunotherapy, an advantageous solution and painless
Sublingual immunotherapy administered through tablets (available at pharmacies) or through drops deposited under the tongue. Unlike its counterpart, injection, it is painless and suitable for young children or people with a phobia of needles. Besides, from the age of 4 years, children are eligible for this treatment. ”the new thing is that we can now easier than ever to help people with respiratory allergies such as an allergy to pollen, dust mites or cat. It is no longer only control the symptoms, but to try to cure the allergy, to prevent the development of complications such as asthma and allow a return to normal life,” well, advances in treatments for allergies are proven and provide a better quality of life to those who suffer. Furthermore, a solution that will want even easier soon be appearing on the market: oral gingival immunotherapy by way of toothpaste.
The benefits of this treatment
- Unlike subcutaneous immunotherapy which involves many discomforts (bites, travel), treat allergies with sublingual immunotherapy has many advantages:
- No traveling needed since the treatment done at home
- No bites related pain
- Particularly easy to administer to children
And what kind of allergies?
As is the case for all drugs, treatment against allergies is less effective and not recommended in some cases:
- People with multiple allergies (over 3 known allergens) because it becomes difficult to adjust the dose
- People with mild symptoms and uncommon (two weeks of discomfort in the spring, for example)
- Children under 5 years
- Old people
- People suffering from degenerative or immune disease, cancer
- Pregnant or nursing women should not start a sublingual immunotherapy treatment, but there is no cons-indication to continue treatment started before the beginning of pregnancy
Allergies Disease: Are there any side effects?
This treatment against allergies usually causes no dangerous side effects. However, about 9% of people may experience the discomfort of light at the outlet. The body reacts as when in the presence of the allergen “naturally” asthma, urticaria, conjunctivitis. It is sometimes necessary for the prescribed doses. If symptoms persist during each take, the doctor will then recommend returning to the “traditional” method of subcutaneous immunotherapy because it is so framed in a clinic and therefore it is easier to monitor the patient after dosing.
Is it really effective against allergies?
Although this technique for treating allergies is still too recent to be investigated over the long-term, the results are quite positive: Approximately 70% of patients see a noticeable difference in their symptoms. And even when allergy symptoms do not disappear completely, they decrease enough for taking antihistamines is unnecessary.