Infographic with allergy facts
What you need to know about

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)

What is sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)?

  • Injection-free therapy used to decrease sensitivity to allergic triggers
  • Allergen extract is placed under tongue once a day, every day, for 3-5 years to help immune system build up natural immunity and decrease allergic reactions
  • Available for children and adults to treat allergic rhinitis and asthma caused by allergies to grass, trees, weeds, mold, dust mites and animal dander
  • Available for peanut allergy but no other food allergies at this time
  • Can’t be used to treat hives, eczema or allergy to stinging insects

How it works

  • A small sample of an allergen (pollen, grass, animal dander, mold, food) is applied to the skin, assessing for a reaction or a hive to appear.
  • Our allergists have access to samples of 100+ allergens to determine which allergens to test for based on medical history, environmental survey and physical examination.
  • Once the allergens are placed, results are read in 20 minutes.
  • For positive results, our allergists use their extensive training and experience to develop safe extract prescriptions based on individual test specifics and tolerance. This is essential because extracts containing the wrong allergens or weak concentrations will be ineffective, and overly strong concentrations may cause undesired allergic reactions.
  • Small amounts of extract are placed daily under patient’s tongue, held for two minutes and swallowed.

Side effects

  • Slight itching or tingling in mouth for a few minutes
  • Otherwise safe to administer at home with no threat of serious reactions

Effectiveness

Medications such as antihistamines and decongestants can effectively treat allergy and asthma symptoms, but symptoms usually return when treatment stops. Immunotherapy is a disease modifier, so it can improve allergic sensitivity even after the course of treatment ends. Over time, patients experience significant decrease in allergic reactions, like runny nose, congestion and cough.