Sub-Lingual (Oral) allergy drops
(Updated June 2022)
Sublingual or SLIT immunotherapy is an evidence-based oral drop therapy that will desensitize people who suffer from seasonal allergies, sinus congestion (rhinitis), and also help with symptoms of asthma, or eczema. Drops are prescribed based on a routine blood test (IgE-done through Lifelabs in Ontario) or via scratch testing from your allergist. Patients initially receive very low, then gradually increasing daily amounts of allergens over a period of months, allowing the immune system to develop tolerance to those allergens, and improvement and eventually discontinuation of symptoms if therapy is maintained for at least 2+ years.
Health Canada has approved SLIT therapy for seasonal pollens, mold, dust and animal dander and is studying SLIT for other environmental allergens.
The great advantage of SLIT therapy is that it is administered at home with guidance of your ND and is particularly helpful for children or the elderly, people who travel, or people who are anxious around needles. Doses start at one drop, once a day, and are gradually increased in strength to reach an effective maintenance dose to manage symptoms.
Many patients with seasonal allergies or asthma report improvement in their symptoms in the first 4-6 weeks, and significant decrease in need for medication therapies such as antihistamines or asthma inhalers with maintenance doses. Recommended duration of treatment to achieve desensitization is three to five years, but sometimes can be achieved in about two years.
I have used SLIT therapy in my practice for over 15 years and have had consistently good results with mild to severe allergies, with very few adverse effects. We often will postpone daily dosing when patients are sick, but otherwise patients can take their drops daily, year round. Also, SLIT therapy does not interfere with other prescribed medicines or natural health products. Dosing may need to be adjusted to lower initial doses and slower increase when patients are highly sensitive, very young or pregnant, but otherwise, the safety profile with this therapy is very high.
Because SLIT drops are dispensed through your pharmacy, most patients will find their therapy is covered by their Extended Health provider.
If you have any further questions about whether this therapy might help your particular concerns, please reach out to us directly for a complimentary discovery session.