Oral Immunotherapy is a branch of medicine that deals with altering the response of the immune system to certain stimuli. When used specifically to limit the immune response, the practice is referred to as Suppression Immunotherapy and has been successfully employed in the treatment of allergies. Other than allergen avoidance, it is the only treatment available for allergies that does not simply address the symptoms. The therapy has been around for a hundred years and is administered by allergy specialists worldwide.
Suppression Immunotherapy is used to treat allergies by slowly altering the immune system’s response to a specific allergen. This is achieved by administering increasing doses of an allergen over the course of a few years. The first dose is very minute, and they’re gradually built up as the treatment progresses without ever reaching a level that provokes a full-blown allergic reaction. The doses, however, do still trigger an immune response. Over time, the body becomes desensitized to the allergen, with some patients achieving a full remission and becoming allergy-free. This is due to the immune system learning through tiny doses that the allergen in question does not pose a threat, which does not happen when it is sporadically exposed to large amounts as it would be naturally.
Oral Immunotherapy can be administered either through injections or in the form of a pill or drop that’s placed under the tongue. Injections are given under the watch of a physician and the patient is monitored afterward to ensure a dangerous allergy attack doesn’t follow. They’re performed more often in the beginning of treatment, usually weekly, until a maintenance dose is achieved and the shots are given monthly. The tablet form of the therapy can be taken by the patient at home, as there is much less chance of a dangerous full-body reaction to the medication.
The treatment is recommended for patients with extreme allergies or ones that cannot be easily avoided such as pollen or insect stings. It is particularly successful in dealing with cases of allergy-related sinus congestion and asthma. It is more successful when administered in the early years of the allergy’s formation. Allergen Oral Immunotherapy is not recommended for the very young or elderly.by