By: Kiran Tipirneni, M.D.

There are numerous options used to treat allergies in your environment. Whether you’re at home or in a place far, far away there are medications, surgeries and various therapies that can help you achieve the relieve you desire. One such method is called desensitization injection therapy and it’s rather effective at treating common allergies.

What is Desensitization Injection Therapy?

Desensitization injection therapy is a treatment program proved effective for those suffering from environmental allergies, such as house dust, mold, animal dander and pollen. Allergens that you are allergic to are made into a serum or vaccine to be administered. The serum or vaccine is administered in gradually increasing doses, gernally on a weekly basis for the first few months of treatment. Eventually the doses become less frequent once the target or maintenance dose is met. It takes about 3 to 5 years for the treatment to be completely effective. The overall goal of the program is to induce tolerance or a non-reactive state to the environmental allergens you are allergic to.

How Does it Work?

The treatment starts with allergens that you are allergic to being placed in a diluted solution that gradually increases to build tolerance or no reaction. The treatment starts with a diluted mixture in order to prevent an allergic reaction from occurring. About 90 percent of patients achieve tolerance by desensitization injection therapy, so it is considered very effective. Due to partial tolerance in some patients, it is important to try other methods such as medications and allergen avoidance before deciding to begin desensitization injection therapy. Patients suffering from severe allergy symptoms may want to consider desensitization injection therapy however. Those suffering from beginning stages of asthma or continuing sinus infections usually respond well to the treatment.

There are three recognized indicators for desensitization injection therapy listed below. If any of the following describe you, you may be a perfect candidate for desensitization injection therapy

  1. People with eczema, asthma or allergic rhinitis who have tried prescription medication and allergen avoidance and shown no response to either method.
  2. A person wanting to decrease their dependence on medications or methods of avoidance while continuing maintenance of allergic symptoms.
  3. Patients who may be at risk for asthma and would like to prevent the progression of asthma when allergic disease signs become apparent.

What Types of Injections Are There?

There are three forms of desensitization injection therapy: standard injection, rush injection in the form of shots and sublingual in the form of drops.

Standard injections begin with very dilute concentrations of allergens that are gradually increased to a maintenance dose. The maintenance dose is undiluted. Patients usually go weekly or bi-weekly for their injections until they arrive at the maintenance dose. The maintenance dose is reached in about 8 to 12 months. The injection interval is then modified from every 2 to every 4 weeks during the 2nd and 3rd years after maintenance dose has been met.

If you would like to learn more about desensitization injection therapy, check out the Allergy and Sinus Center at our office and contact us to learn if you are a good fit for the therapy.