A natural approach to managing allergies
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is an alternative method for treating environmental allergies. It works by increasing your immunity/tolerance to the allergens by taking a very small, daily dose of specific allergen(s) in liquid form under the tongue. SLIT is a specific immunotherapy and works similarly to the more conventionally know subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT). SLIT has been found to be equally effective and have the same benefits as SCIT but does not require regular injections in an allergists’ office.
Both methods work by modifying the underlying immunological mechanism and have been shown to prevent the onset of new allergies and the onset of asthma.
Anyone 3 years or older who isn't taking beta blockers for a heart condition.
The first step is a 15-30 min consultation where Dr. Breckon will review your past medical historyand assess if SLIT is right for you. We will discuss the type of symptoms you have, how severe your symptoms are, if you have symptoms seasonally or year round, and if you are on any medications.
The second step is in-office allergy testing which takes approximately 15 minutes. The scratch test is a minimally invasive and effective way to screen for allergies and involves exposing the skin on the forearm to a small amount of the allergens and pricking the skin with a small device. It is relatively painless and generally well-tolerated by most patients (including children) as it involves only the top layer of skin. The skin will be watched closely for signs of a reaction. Positive signs generally include redness and swelling. You may also be itchy, but this should resolve on its own within an hour of the test. Scratch tests are generally quite safe, but there is a small possibility of an adverse allergic reaction.
Following the test you will be monitored in office for any symptoms for an additional 15 minutes before you leave.
The following allergens will be tested:
Based on your results, a custom allergen extract will be compounded for you. Most drug plans cover this prescription and reimburse 80-100% of the cost. You will receive three months worth of your prescription at a time: one vial at regular strength and two vials at extra strength. It takes roughly 7-10 days for the prescription to be made and delivered to the office.
When your allergen extract has been received by the office we'll call you to schedule a 15 minute consultation. We will review dosing strategy as well as safety information related to SLIT and you will take your first dose of the regular strength allergen extract under supervision. Following the appointment you will need to stay in the office for an additional 15 minutes to monitor for any symptoms.
Approximately three months after initiating the therapy you will need to schedule a 15 minute follow-up visit to discuss your progress, any allergy symptoms and how you are doing with the sublingual immunotherapy. At this time a new three month supply of your custom compounded allergen extracts will be ordered.
For optimal results, SLIT is best used as a long-term therapy, however it can also be used seasonally. If using seasonally it is best to start the month or two before exposure to the allergens that trigger your allergies (in Calgary, for example, ragweed pollen starts to be released in July and lasts through to September).
It is recommended that you have the scratch test done every 12 months to assess for desensitization of existing allergies and the development of new allergies.
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