If your allergy symptoms make you feel terrible and you hate taking allergy medicine because of side effects, you might want to try a product that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved in 2014. A fast-dissolving tablet that you place under your tongue once per day helps your body become accustomed to the allergen and eventually stop reacting to it. This treatment works if you're allergic to pollen from certain types of grasses, but you may have other options if you react to different substances.
Immunotherapy for Allergy Treatment
The tablets that you place under your tongue contain a specific amount of allergens. This is a form of immunotherapy; your body eventually learns to tolerate the allergens as you repeatedly put the substances in your system through the tablets.
The therapy works in a manner similar to allergy shots—except you don't have to endure injections or repeatedly go to an allergist for treatment. Instead, you have your first treatment at the clinic, after which you receive a prescription for the tablets—as long as you didn't have any negative reaction to the medication the first time.
The Allergy Skin Test
Before getting a prescription, you'll need a skin-prick test to confirm that you react to at least one of the specific allergens included in the tablets. The newly approved medication includes extracts from:
- Kentucky blue grass
- perennial rye
- sweet vernal
Unfortunately, if you're allergic to a different substance, such as ragweed or dust mites, this particular medication will not work. However, you may still have an option for sublingual therapy.
Many allergists prescribe other sublingual tablets as so-called "off-label use." That means the FDA has approved the medication for other uses but not for this particular purpose. In this case, the ingredients of the sublingual tablets are the same as those in allergy shots, so doctors are legally allowed to prescribe them in a different form.
If you're allergic to a substance not targeted by the recently approved medication, ask your doctor about other options for sublingual treatment.
Don't expect the tablets to act as a miracle drug. In research reported in the FDA news release, study participants experienced up to a 30% reduction in their allergy symptoms. Nonetheless, that can be a substantial amount of relief when you're dealing with seasonal hay fever. If you normally take medication to decrease symptoms, perhaps you'll be able to reduce your dosage or stop using it altogether. Learn more about whether this treatment could work for you, talk to local professionals such as Mark Montgomery MD FACS.