Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a treatment option for people with allergies to certain substances, such as pollen, mold, and dust mites. It involves taking small doses of the allergen under the tongue (sublingually) on a daily basis to desensitize the immune system to the allergen. SLIT is typically taken as drops or tablets that are placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve. The treatment involves gradually increasing the dosage over time, with the goal of eventually reaching a maintenance dose that can provide long-term allergy relief. SLIT is usually taken at home, and treatment can last for several years.
One of the main advantages of SLIT is that it is a relatively non-invasive treatment option compared to allergy shots (also known as subcutaneous immunotherapy). Allergy shots involve receiving injections of the allergen, which can be painful and require regular visits to the healthcare provider's office. In contrast, SLIT can be taken at home and does not require injections. SLIT is generally considered safe and effective for the treatment of allergies, and it has been shown to reduce allergy symptoms and improve quality of life for many people. However, like any treatment, it is not without risks. Some people may experience side effects such as mouth irritation, swelling, and itching. In rare cases, SLIT can cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.
It is important to discuss the potential benefits and risks of SLIT with a healthcare provider before starting treatment. SLIT may not be suitable for everyone, and it is not always effective for all types of allergies.
In conclusion, SLIT is a non-invasive treatment option for allergies that involves taking small doses of the allergen under the tongue on a daily basis to desensitize the immune system. It is generally considered safe and effective, but it is important to discuss the potential benefits and risks with a board-certified allergist such as Sandra A. Ho, MD at Avant Allergy in Los Angeles, CA.