Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)

Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy alters the immune system, desensitizing the body to the allergen and decreasing the symptoms that the patient would previously experience after exposure.

Allergen immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy shots, help between 85 and 90 percent of patients achieve substantial improvement in their symptoms while reducing their need for additional medication.

This therapy, which spans three to five years, involves injecting the patient with slowly increasing amounts of the allergen.

Allergy conditions treated with these injections include rhinitis, asthma that has a strong allergic component, and insect sting allergy.

Why Use Allergy Shots?

There are a few reasons why an allergist may recommend immunotherapy:

  • Allergy medications are ineffective.
  • Allergy medications interact with other necessary medications or cause troublesome side effects.
  • The patient wishes to limit long-term use of allergy remedies.
  • The patient is allergic to insect bites or stings.

Immunotherapy injections can control symptoms of seasonal allergies caused by pollen, reactions to indoor allergens such as dust mites or pet dander, and toxins from insect stings. Tablets given under the tongue are available that combat allergies to ragweed, some grass pollens, and dust mites. It usually takes until the second year of immunotherapy to see significant improvement in allergy symptoms.

Your child’s allergist can explain more about the risks and benefits of allergen immunotherapy.

More about the Pediatric Respiratory and Immunology Center at Hasbro Children's Hospital »