A new approach to allergies

Allergy shots may soon become a thing of the past. A new treatment called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is rapidly becoming the preferred way to eliminate allergies.

by Dr. Jake Psenka —

Are you looking for a way to eradicate your seasonal allergies? In the past, the only medical solution for allergy desensitization included visits to an allergist’s office and receiving a series of painful shots every two weeks. After a year or two of these shots, it was possible to “train” your body to stop reacting to the allergic substances in your environment. Aside from being both painful and costly, this approach did help a great many people.

Allergy shots may soon become a thing of the past. A new treatment called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is rapidly becoming the preferred way to eliminate allergies. This new treatment utilizes the blood vessels underneath the tongue as a way to introduce minute dosages of allergy-causing substances into the body, instead of using allergy shots. These small dosages gradually “re-train” the body’s immune system to stop viewing the allergic substances as a problem and to begin seeing them as a normal part of the environment. SLIT works via the same general principles as allergy shots, except no injections are needed and there is less risk of an adverse effect.

Several companies make sublingual immunotherapy vaccines, but not all make similar products. Some companies use a master mix, which takes all of the potential allergens and puts them together in a single solution.  However, researchers from several sources, including the American Association of Otolaryngic Allergists, have published concerns with this approach.

First, certain types of allergens can cross-react in solution, severely decreasing the potency of the medication. Second, because master-mix solutions contain a large variety of allergic substances, it is likely that some things will be present in the solution that the person is not allergic to. These substances may have the ability to work as “sensitizers,” potentially initiating an allergy.

One company, seroSLIT, takes a more personal approach to sublingual immunotherapy. This company makes customized SLIT vaccines for patients that are based on each patient’s unique allergies. Determining a person’s particular allergies can be done using a simple blood test. These allergy tests measure a person’s antibodies to specific allergens, which can be used to determine not only what someone is allergic to, but also how severe their allergy may be. Using these results, a physician can then work with seroSLIT to make a custom sublingual allergy vaccine containing only the relevant allergens.

Taking the SLIT vaccine could not be easier. Simply spray the solution under your tongue — that is it. Used correctly, these vaccines can help control allergy symptoms in a matter of months, but for best results they should be used for a year or two. After that length of time, your allergies should disappear.

The best part of SLIT, in addition to being painless and working well, is that it is extremely safe, even for children. For more information about this exciting new therapy, visit www.longevitymedical.com.

 

Dr. Jonathan Psenka is a frequent lecturer, writer and a licensed naturopathic physician practicing in Phoenix. His practice focuses on helping people with diseases such as cancer, viral conditions and environmental toxicities. www.4wecare.com/physician/jonathan_psenka.aspx or 602-493-2273. 

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 6, December 2012/January 2013.

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