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Sublingual Immunotherapy: Costs & Benefits

Learn about the costs and benefits of sublingual immunotherapy. Take the first step to conquering your allergies.
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Sublingual Immunotherapy: A Comprehensive Overview

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a groundbreaking treatment method for allergies that involves administering small amounts of allergens under the tongue to boost the body's tolerance. This innovative approach offers a convenient and non-invasive alternative to traditional allergy shots. By gradually exposing the immune system to specific allergens, SLIT helps desensitize individuals to these triggers, reducing allergic reactions over time. This therapy is particularly effective for managing allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic asthma, and certain insect sting allergies. With its ease of administration and proven effectiveness, sublingual immunotherapy stands as a promising solution for those seeking lasting relief from allergies. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) stands out for its exceptional safety and convenience when compared to other allergy treatments. Unlike allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy), SLIT doesn't involve needles or frequent visits to healthcare facilities, making it an ideal option for those with busy schedules or a fear of injections.

Moreover, its administration at home under medical supervision reduces the risk of severe allergic reactions, which can occasionally occur with allergy shots. SLIT's safety profile makes it suitable for a broader range of patients, including children and older individuals, offering a comfortable and manageable way to address allergies without the inconvenience or potential risks associated with other treatment methods.

Is Sublingual Immunotherapy Safe?

At-home sublingual immunotherapy is a safe alternative to allergy shots that can be done at the comfort of your home. Due to its gentle, gradual build-up phase, the risk of severe reactions is extremely low compared to allergy shots, which require monitoring post-injection.

How Often is Sublingual Immunotherapy Treatment?

The frequency of sublingual immunotherapy administration varies based on factors such as the severity of your allergies, the type of allergen extract you're using, and your doctor's guidance. Normally, allergy drops are taken daily, while more diluted doses may be taken thrice daily. Your doctor will provide a tailored protocol for maximum effectiveness. Just like any medication, adherence to the prescribed regimen is crucial.

Sublingual Immunotherapy Costs

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) has historically been a pricier treatment due to various reasons, such as the cost of FDA-approved allergenic extracts, the necessity for precise dosing, and the notably higher dosage of extract in allergy drops compared to allergy shots.

Thankfully, the rise of efficient compounding pharmacies, working alongside specialized telemedicine providers like Curex, is changing the landscape by making allergy drops more cost-effective in the US. These pharmacies can mass-produce SLIT orders for numerous patients daily, standardizing the process and significantly lowering the cost per dose. Moreover, they benefit from buying allergen extracts in bulk, leveraging economies of scale to drive expenses down. These advancements are enhancing accessibility to allergy drops, especially for those unable to afford traditional allergy shots, which have typically been even more expensive than sublingual immunotherapy treatments.

Does Insurance Pay for Sublingual Immunotherapy?

The extent of insurance coverage for sublingual immunotherapy varies based on individual plans. Typically, insurance covers immunotherapy given via injections at the doctor's office. However, sublingual immunotherapy drops, categorized as a pharmacy product, might not be covered due to restrictions like the Stark Law, governing financial relationships between doctors and pharmacies.

Nevertheless, certain insurance plans are collaborating with specialized pharmacies to include coverage for allergy drops. For example, Curex has partnered with a pharmacy linked to entities like the U.S. Navy, Mayo Clinic, and various large employer insurance plans. Curex is actively in talks with major pharmacy plans to extend coverage for allergy drops.

Although comprehensive insurance coverage may take time to expand, Curex presently accepts all major insurance plans for clinical consultations and allergy testing fees, which make up about half the cost of allergy immunotherapy. This approach enables Curex to provide starting prices as low as $59 per month for allergy drops.

Is Sublingual Immunotherapy FDA Approved?

Sublingual immunotherapy, known as allergy drops, has secured FDA approval for specific allergens, offering an effective remedy for allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. FDA-endorsed formulations target allergens such as grass pollen, ragweed, and dust mites.

It's important to note that not all allergens or formulations may possess FDA approval for sublingual immunotherapy. Consulting healthcare professionals helps assess suitability for individual allergies and identifies FDA-endorsed formulations for specific allergens, ensuring informed treatment decisions.

While the FDA hasn't reviewed clinical studies for sublingual immunotherapy addressing multiple allergies, allergy drops, in use since the 1920s with established safety and efficacy, have been "grandfathered in." Conversely, despite being administered globally to millions since the 1990s, sublingual immunotherapy lacks FDA approval. Therefore, doctors prescribe allergy drops off-label, a legal yet common practice. However, due to this lack of FDA approval, pharmaceutical companies face restrictions in marketing their allergenic extracts for sublingual immunotherapy.

Sublingual Immunotherapy Side Effects

Sublingual immunotherapy stands as a widely recognized safe and efficient allergy treatment. However, like any medical intervention, it may entail potential side effects. Commonly, minor and short-lived effects manifest as mouth or throat irritation, while less frequent occurrences may include gastrointestinal discomfort like nausea or vomiting, oral swelling, eye irritation, or ear discomfort, usually resolving within weeks. Healthcare providers might recommend continuing traditional allergy medications like Claritin to mitigate these effects.

Severe reactions such as anaphylaxis or eosinophilic esophagitis are extremely rare, happening in less than 0.03% of cases. Allergy drops are often preferred over injections due to their gradual dosing and the body's adaptability over time, especially for individuals previously reacting negatively to allergy shots. Maintaining open dialogue with healthcare professionals is crucial to recognize potential risks and ensure a safe, effective treatment plan.

Allergy Immunotherapy

Allergy Drugs

Natural Ingredients?

Long-Term Relief?

Immediate Results?

Side effects

Rare and mild

Drowsiness, dementia, weight gain, etc.

Potency over time

Improves

Diminishes

Personalized

Doctor-Approved

Sublingual Immunotherapy Drops vs. Tablets

Sublingual immunotherapy tablets and drops are both forms of allergy treatment, yet they differ in administration and formulation. Tablets, such as Odactra, Grastek, Ragwitek, and Oralair, are FDA-approved and designed for sublingual use, where they dissolve under the tongue. These tablets contain precise doses of allergens for targeted treatment.On the other hand, allergy drops, also known as sublingual immunotherapy drops, involve liquid formulations placed under the tongue. These drops are custom-made to suit individual allergen sensitivities and are not FDA-approved as standardized treatments. They're often compounded by specialized pharmacies based on specific allergens identified in allergy testing.

While tablets offer standardized doses and FDA approval, drops are customized and may not have FDA endorsement. Both aim to desensitize individuals to allergens, but tablets follow a regulated dosage, while drops offer tailored formulations based on allergen sensitivity identified through testing. Consulting healthcare professionals helps determine the most suitable option based on individual allergy needs and treatment.

Four single-allergy immunotherapy tablets intended for sublingual administration—Odactra, Grastek, Ragwitek, and Oralair—have garnered FDA approval. Demonstrating both efficacy and safety, these tablets establish the sublingual approach as a feasible treatment option. Intriguingly, in the EU, particularly in France, allergy drops serve as the predominant form of allergy immunotherapy.

The FDA maintains the highest global standards for pharmaceutical approval, ensuring the safety and efficacy of approved treatments.

Name

Treats

Approval Year

Oralair

Grass Pollen

2014

Grastek

Timothy grass

2017

Ragwitek

Ragweed

2018

Odactra

Dust mite

2022

Does Sublingual Immunotherapy Really Work?

Sublingual immunotherapy has demonstrated effectiveness in treating allergies for many individuals. Clinical studies and research have shown that this form of treatment can help reduce allergy symptoms by desensitizing the body to specific allergens over time. Numerous patients have experienced relief from allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, and other allergic conditions through sublingual immunotherapy.

However, individual responses to this treatment can vary, and its efficacy may differ based on factors such as the type and severity of allergies, the specific allergens targeted, and adherence to the prescribed regimen. Consulting healthcare professionals can provide personalized insights into whether sublingual immunotherapy is suitable and effective for managing specific allergic conditions.

How Long Does it Take for Sublingual Immunotherapy to Start Working?

The timeline for experiencing results with sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) varies individually. Typically, improvements in allergy symptoms might appear within a few months of consistent treatment. However, it can take around three to six months or longer for some individuals to notice significant relief.

Consistency in adhering to the prescribed treatment plan, which involves regular administration of allergy drops or tablets as directed by a healthcare professional, is vital for optimal outcomes.

Continuous communication with healthcare providers helps monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan, ensuring the best possible results in managing allergies.

Can You Get Sublingual Immunotherapy Over the Counter?

Sublingual immunotherapy treatments necessitate a doctor's or pharmacist's prescription due to the need for precise dosing and vigilant supervision to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Although some retail stores offer homeopathic allergy drops at a cost ranging from $5-10 per bottle (and sometimes more), these products lack essential active ingredients and evidence supporting their efficacy.

Can I Get Sublingual Immunotherapy Near Me?

Allergy drops can be dispensed by an allergy doctor that specializes in allergy immunotherapy and allergy drops. Several pharmacies may be able to ship you an order of allergy drops, but they require a prescription. Curex offers an affordable option at just $59/month. You can start a Free Quiz with Curex, receive a prescription from a Curex allergy clinician online, and have your allergy drops mailed to you.

Sublingual Immunotherapy for Pet Allergies

Allergy drops, also known as sublingual immunotherapy drops, can be used to treat dog allergies. This treatment works by gradually exposing the immune system to small, controlled doses of dog Sublingual immunotherapy is a method utilized to manage pet allergies by desensitizing the body's immune response to pet dander, saliva, or urine. It involves administering small amounts of these allergens under the tongue, gradually training the immune system to tolerate them without triggering an allergic reaction. This approach aims to reduce allergic symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, or nasal congestion, associated with exposure to pets.

Individuals suffering from pet allergies can benefit from sublingual immunotherapy, which is a convenient and less invasive alternative to traditional allergy shots. This treatment is typically prescribed by allergists and involves a personalized treatment plan designed to address specific pet allergens.

By consistently exposing the body to small, controlled amounts of pet allergens, sublingual immunotherapy helps the immune system build tolerance over time. Patients can conveniently self-administer the treatment at home, following the prescribed dosage and schedule.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if sublingual immunotherapy is suitable for managing pet allergies, as its effectiveness can vary based on individual factors. Nonetheless, this method has shown promise in reducing the severity of allergic reactions to pets, offering potential relief to allergy sufferers.

Does Sublingual Immunotherapy Treat Food Allergies?

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a treatment approach for food allergies involving the placement of a small amount of liquid containing food allergens under the tongue for a few minutes. This exposure aims to help the body develop tolerance to specific foods by introducing these allergens to cells in the lining of the mouth.

Effective for various food allergies such as kiwi, peanut, hazelnut, milk, and peach, SLIT is a viable option. However,

it's not as widely used as treatments for airborne allergies, and there's comparatively less research supporting its effectiveness when compared to oral immunotherapy (OIT). While SLIT hasn't received official approval in the United States for food allergies, ongoing research continues in this area. The FDA has approved Palforzia, an OIT tablet for peanut allergies, but its administration is limited to medical facilities due to higher dosage and frequent allergic reactions.

In contrast, evidence suggests that SLIT for food allergies may offer a safer and more gradual tolerance build-up than OIT. However, the trade-off is a longer treatment duration, typically spanning 18-24 months, compared to the 9-month timeline for OIT.

Sublingual Immunotherapy Reviews

Clients commonly appreciate sublingual immunotherapy for its convenience, user-friendliness, and portability. The process usually encompasses an initial build-up stage and later transitions into a maintenance phase. Although some individuals might encounter mild and transient side effects, these are generally temporary and of mild intensity.

The majority of users notice positive effects within 3-6 months of commencing treatment. They maintain collaboration with their allergist to optimize the treatment's effectiveness progressively.

FAQs

What is sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), or allergy drops?
How often do I need to take sublingual immunotherapy drops?
How do sublingual immunotherapy drops compare to allergy shots?
What is the cost of sublingual immunotherapy?
Does insurance cover sublingual immunotherapy?
Is sublingual immunotherapy FDA approved?
What are the side effects of sublingual immunotherapy?
How long does it take for sublingual immunotherapy to work?
Can I get sublingual immunotherapy over the counter?
Can sublingual immunotherapy treat food allergies?
How do I get sublingual immunotherapy for my pet allergies?
What do customers say about sublingual immunotherapy?

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