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Comparison of Allergy shots and Allergy

Allergy shots
Subcutaneous ImmunoTherapy (SCIT)

Allergy drops
Sublingual ImmunoTherapy (SLIT)

How is it administered?
1-2 injections into the arm with very small
needles. Initially injections are 1-2 times per
week, and over time frequency is reduced to
every 2-4 weeks.  
Injections are done in physician office.  There
is a mandatory 30 minute observation period
after injections.
Drops are placed under the tongue, held
there for about a minute, then swalowed.    
This is done at home.

Reduces allergy symptoms by 80-90%
Asthma resolves in up to 70% of patients
Reduces allergy and asthma symptoms.  Only
a few studies have directly compared shots to
drops for from there, it appears drops are
about 1/2 as good as allergy shots in
reducing symptoms.

Prevention of new allergies or asthma
Cuts the risk of new allergies by 50%
Cust the risk of developing asthma by 50%
Unknown at this time

Adverse reactions
Local reactions  (swelling) at injection site
Allergic reactions occur at a rate of about 1/
200-500 injections, most of which are mild,
rarely severe reactions can occur.
May experience itching, swelling, or tingling in
the mouth, nausea, or diarrhea.   
Severe reactions appear unlikely, though a
few case reports have been reported.

Who can receive allergy shots?
Typically from age 5 and up.  Contraindicated
in individuals on beta blocker medications,
who have heart disease, or poorly controlled
Typically from age 3 and up.  Contraindicated
in individuals on beta blocker medications,
who have heart disease, or poorly controlled

FDA approved?
No.  The allergy mixture is the same as the
one used for allergy shots,  but it has not yet
been approved by the FDA so it is considered
an "off label" or "investigational" type of
treatment.   It has been used in Europe for
the past 10-20 years.  The World Health
Organization concluded in 1998 that allergy
drops were a viable, safe, and effective
alternative to allergy shots

Covered by insurance

Varies depending on insurance coverage
Roughly $20 per week, or $80 per month -
about the same as a typical cell phone or
cable bill