Traditional immunotherapy – allergy shots – are effective against numerous pollens, dust mites, animal dander, insect venom, and more. Another therapy – sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT – which uses drops under the tongue instead of shots, shows promise, according to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In 63 studies, reviewers found moderate evidence to support using SLIT to treat allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and asthma. However, they warn questions remain about dosing strategy – how strong each dose should be and how often drops should be given – as well as duration of treatment.
SLIT is widely used in Europe and some physicians in the United States use it off-label, but JAMA editorial writer Harold S. Nelson, MD, points out there are no extracts licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and no code addressing appropriate dosing and safety: “Although patients may prefer a therapy that is relatively safe and can be administered at home, FDA approval has not been granted yet, and many unanswered questions remain…”
First published in Allergy & Asthma Today, Summer 2013