Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT/Allergy Drops) is the name given to allergy extract that is administered orally. The allergy extract, rather than being administered by an injection, is administered as oral allergy drops that are placed under the tongue ("sublingual"), held there for two minutes, and then swallowed. Sublingual immunotherapy is a unique type of immunotherapy that combines safety and convenience with excellent efficiency. Popular in Europe for many years, sublingual immunotherapy is now being introduced into the United States and is gaining in popularity. Many patients prefer allergy immunotherapy because it treats the cause of inhalant allergies/asthma rather than merely treating the symptoms with medications.
Patients ask if all allergy drop procedures are equal, and the answer is a definite NO! There are numerous SLIT clinics and companies that offer low dose sublingual immunotherapy and is often only a placebo treatment. Allergy extract is quite expensive and so there is unfortunately an incentive to use low doses of extract. For SLIT to be as effective as it is in trials, high concentrations need to be used.
Our clinic offers targeted high-dose oral immunotherapy treatments, designed in accordance with well established European protocols that have been shown to offer excellent benefit. The current studies still indicate that injection immunotherapy may be slightly more beneficial, but oral immunotherapy offers substantial benefits much greater than placebo drops in controlled medical studies. Because of the convenience of home therapy and good efficacy, SLIT is rapidly being used more for airborne allergies (pollen, mold, dust mites, and animal danders).