Sublingual Immunotherapy, or SLIT, is the process of treating allergies by using specially mixed drops under the tongue daily.
The first step is to have allergy testing to determine which items induce an allergic reaction. This can be done by skin testing or blood testing. The results are then used to write a recipe for your drops. A vial containing those allergens is mixed specifically for you, based on your allergy testing results. From that point, you begin to escalate (or increase) the drops for 5 days and then start on the larger vial. As you complete each vial, the next vial will be mixed so your treatment is not interrupted. You will need to notify Kentucky ENT as you get close to the end of each vial so the next vial will be ready for you.
Sublingual immunotherapy is safe for children and adults. SLIT is ideal for patients who cannot tolerate or don’t respond to injection immunotherapy. This can include asthmatic, highly sensitive patients, patients with chronic conditions including sinusitis and those with multiple allergies including dust, pollen and animals. Patients are able to take the drops at home daily instead of having to visit the doctor’s office each week.
It is recommended that you continue on SLIT for three to five years so that your body can build long-term immunity. The time can vary depending upon the severity of your allergies. Treating underlying allergies in children can help prevent development of other allergies and asthma later in life. SLIT therapy can be taken even if you are acutely ill or have a sinus infection. While you are on SLIT, it is necessary to see your ENT/allergy provider once or twice per year.
Most insurance companies do not cover SLIT as the FDA considers SLIT as "off-label” use. However, with the cost of co-pays for traditional allergy injections and the time and costs of traveling to and from the doctor’s office for those injections, SLIT may actually be less expensive for you.
To see if SLIT is right for you, please call Kentucky Ear, Nose and Throat to schedule an appointment at (859) 278-1114.
Reactions* are possible with this treatment. If you experience any of the following report them to Kentucky ENT:
Itching in the mouth
Swelling in the mouth
*Tingling under the tongue is normal as long as it is not accompanied by other symptoms.
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