Allergen immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots, is a long-term treatment option that lessens the symptoms for patients with allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, and other conditions. Immunotherapy works to decrease a patient’s sensitivity to allergens and can lead to longer lasting relief from allergy symptoms.
Allergy shots can be given to adults as well as children. Immunotherapy treatments work by exposing the body to injected amounts of an allergen protein, given in gradually increasing doses. This helps the body build a tolerance or immunity to the allergen. In the build-up phase patients receive injections with increasing amounts of an allergen one or two times a week. The maintenance phase begins when an effective dose is reached. An effective maintenance dose is determine by a patient’s level of sensitivity to the allergen and their response to the build-up phase. Maintenance allergen injections are usually given every 4 weeks; however your allergist will determine the appropriate dosing regimen for you. It is recommended that patients wait in the doctor’s office for about 30 minutes after receiving allergy shots so they can be monitored for any reactions.