Living Columns & Blogs

The allergy drop alternative: Are they right for you?

For many allergy sufferers, there’s good news out there. Sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops — an alternative to injections — is now available at Mount Nittany Physician Group Ear, Nose & Throat, at the Mount Nittany Health — Boalsburg location.

What exactly are allergy drops?

Unlike more traditional allergy treatments — which only temporarily alleviate symptoms — allergy drops are an allergen extract (in liquid form) that matches a person’s specific allergy profile, targeting the underlying cause of the allergies. Allergy profiles are collected via skin or blood testing, and drops — made from specified amounts of the noted allergen(s) and a glycerin solution, are mixed in our office. There are no additional preservatives in the drops.

With allergy drops, the patient is exposed to the needed antigen(s) — the allergy-causing substance or substances detected in their profile — which helps boost immunity and, ultimately, eliminates allergy symptoms. The patient “drops” the extract under the tongue, holds it there for a short period of time and then swallows. As a rule, drops are administered under the tongue in gradually increasing doses until the patient develops a tolerance to the allergy-causing substance.

What types of allergies can be treated with allergy drops?

One of the many benefits of allergy drops is that they can treat a broad range of allergies, including those caused by year-round allergens such as dust mites, molds and animal dander as well as seasonal allergens such as trees, grasses and weeds.

Allergy drops are ideal for those looking for an alternative to shots, especially children and patients who are afraid of needles/shots.

Because allergy drops treat the root cause of allergies, and not just the symptoms, most patients can expect the effects of the allergy drops to last a significant amount of time. Once tolerance to an allergy is built, it can even be permanent for many patients.

Additional benefits include:

Patients can take drops anywhere

Lower cost compared with some other allergy medications/shots

Potentially less medication to control symptoms after beginning the drops

Fewer missed days at work/school due to office visits for treatments or symptoms

Why aren’t allergy drops more widely used?

Allergy drops are widely accepted as an effective treatment throughout the world. That acceptance is growing in the United States as the treatment becomes more widely available and providers are educated on its benefits.

How you can learn more

If you have questions and would like to learn more about allergy drop treatment, join us for a free community education event at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis Auditorium, Mount Nittany Medial Center, 1800 E. Park Ave., State College. Pre-registration is required by calling 234-6727.

Michael Freiman, MD, FAAOA, joined Mount Nittany Physician Group Ear, Nose & Throat in 2016. He is board certified in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy.