Sublingual Immunotherapy

Sublingual Immunotherapy

A proven alternative to allergy shots

By Dr. Kristin Schnurr


Sublingual Immunotherapy, or SLIT, is a proven, injection-free treatment to address the underlying causes of seasonal and environmental allergies. The therapy desensitizes the immune system to pollens, dander, and other allergens. It has been found to be effective in hay fever, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and allergic asthma. It has been found to prevent the development of allergic asthma in children with eczema and allergic rhinitis.
The treatment is very safe, in fact safer than injections. SLIT, when compared to traditional allergy injections, costs less, is more convenient, and requires fewer clinic visits. Allergy drops are safe for children (3yrs or older), highly reactive people, and those with underlying medical conditions that prevent them from being candidates for injection therapy.
How does it work?

SLIT works in a similar way to traditional allergy shots. A small daily dose of the allergen is given in a sublingual drop form (under the tongue), which gradually reduces your reactivity by training your immune system to no longer react.
An in-office initial scratch test is done to determine which allergens you are reactive to. The first dose of the indicated allergen/s is given in the office. Subsequent daily doses of the allergy drops are taken at home. Retesting after 6 months of treatment will determine whether the drops are still needed.
SLIT can be used during allergy season or done preventatively, beginning 30-60 days prior to pollen season (continuing to the end of the season itself – and beyond if indicated).
Types of allergies treated
At this time, we offer treatment for allergies caused by:
Cats/Dogs Dust mites Tree pollens
Grasses Weeds Mold

When should I start my treatment?

For prevention (pre-seasonal treatment), your treatment should start 4-8 weeks prior to pollen season. Tree pollen: preventative treatment should start early December or January; Grass/Weed pollen: preventative treatment should start early March or April.
Treatment during active allergy symptoms can start at any time during the allergy season. There is no season for mold, cat/dog dander, or house dust mite – treatment can start at any time.
How accurate is the testing?

Scratch tests are highly accurate for pollen, dander, dust mite, and mold spore allergies. They have, at minimum, 98% sensitivity and 95% specificity for the allergens tested. Results are highly reproducible.
Appointments and Fees for Sublingual Immunotherapy

Expect to be in the clinic for up to one hour for the initial test and dosing. The test itself takes a few minutes to administer, however the results take up to half an hour to be determined. You must remain at the clinic for at least 15-20 minutes after the first administration of the drops.
Our testing fee is a flat rate of $40.00 plus HST. Cost of the allergen drops depends on the number of allergens being treated.

Dr. Kristin Schnurr and Dr. Deirdre O’Neill are both available at Sage Clinic Victoria to administer this therapy.  Please contact the clinic for further details.

Studies and Articles
Preventive effects of sublingual immunotherapy in childhood: an open randomized controlled study 
Marogna, Maurizio; Tomassetti, Dante; Bernasconi, Antonella; Colombo, Fausto; Massolo, Alessandro; Rienzo Businco, Andrea D.; Canonica, Giorgio W.; Passalacqua, Giovanni; Tripodi, Salvatore 
Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Volume 101, Number 2, August 2008 , pp. 206-211(6)
One hundred forty-four children received SLIT and 72 received drugs only. New sensitizations appeared in 34.8% of controls and in 3.1% of SLIT patients. Mild persistent asthma was less frequent in SLIT patients. There was a significant decrease in clinical scores in the SLIT group vs. the control group since the first year. The number of children with a positive challenge result decreased significantly after 3 years only in the SLIT group.