What is Allergen Immunotherapy?
There are a large number of people who suffer from allergicrhinitis. What is causing even more trouble is the fact that more than half ofthose individuals only get partial or even poor benefits from all treatment methodswhich are based on the symptoms. This is why there is a growing number ofpatients suffering from allergic rhinitis who choose immuno-densitisation therapyin order to get rid of their medical conditions.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy isbased on injections and it is very effective but it may sometimes be associatedwith certain serious side effects so the allergen vaccination immunotherapyseems like a much safer and popular option. Allergen immunotherapy is intendedto help all those who suffer from allergic disorders and it comes in the formof a vaccine which contains high doses of allergens. These vaccines are veryefficient in inducing immunologic tolerance, reducing the remission of allergicsymptoms and improving the quality of one’s overall life. All of this happensmainly due to the fact that when influenced by the vaccine, the immune systemof a person gets modulated so that it responds differently to the harmfulallergens.
Immunotherapy can be administered under the tongue or under theskin, depending on the skin. This is the only type of treatment for allergieswhich modifies the allergic process without relying on the suppression of thesymptoms. As already mentioned, sublingual type of immunotherapy is moresought after than its subcutaneous counterpart mainly due to the fact that itdoes not involve the risk of anaphylaxis.
Numerous scientific studies haveshown that immunotherapy is much more efficient in treating patients who sufferfrom allergic disorders than all other sorts of medications such as topicalsteroids or antihistamines. Immunotherapy treatment is highly flexible and itcan be carried out in the safety of one’s home and, according to variousmedical statistics, it is the most cost effective treatment strategy for allthose who suffer from different types of allergic disorders.
One needs to be aware of the fact that immunotherapy needsto be started a few months prior to the allergen season so that it can be fullyfunctional.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy is administered through small hypodermicsyringes into the back of the upper arm. This location is actually the onewhich involves the least painful sensation because it contains only a few nerveendings. In most cases, the injections can be tolerated easily as they involveonly slight amounts of discomfort.
The process initially involves very lowdoses of allergens which gradually get increased over time on a regular weeklybasis until a certain maintenance dose gets reached. Once that dose is reachedthe frequency of intervals between two injections is increased to a few weeksbut it still requires a regular application.
Another form of immunotherapy is calledintralymphatic immunotherapy and it involves distribution of specific allergensdirectly into a subcutaneous lymph node. This leads to a significantlyincreased resistance to peptides and proteins. It involves virtually no pain atall and the whole process is very easy to perform.
Another popular type ofimmunotherapy is the one medicinally referred to as sublingual immunotherapy.It is probably the safest of all methods of immunotherapy and involves administration of specific allergens under the tongue.
Transcutaneous or epicutaneous immunotherapyis yet another form of immunotherapy and it includes administration ofallergen by means of a skin patch.
Side Effects and Statistical Data
Sublingual immunotherapy is the safest one so even the rarecases of side effects involve only the mild ones which are usually only localreactions to the administration of allergens. The most common side effectsassociated with sublingual immunotherapy include swelling of the mouth, itchingof the mouth, sneezing, throat irritation, ear pruritus, edema of the oral cavity and oralpruritus. Some rare side effects which may also be associated with this type ofimmunotherapy may or may not include fatigue, pruritus, throat tightness,rhinitis, nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, pharyngitis, asthma, cough,conjunctivitis, eye pruritus, oral paresthesia and headaches. Most cases ofside effects diminish on their own and do not require any medicalinterventions.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy can get much more serious when itcomes to side effects. One should not worry if certain mild side effects suchas redness, swelling and itchiness occur at the site of the injection. In somecases, subcutaneous immunotherapy may be associated with certain types ofsystemic reactions such as anaphylaxis. According to certain medical statistics,such systemic reactions tend to occur in no more than 4 percent of patients whodecide upon subcutaneous immunotherapy as a method of treatment for theirallergic disorders. Fortunately enough, the risk of serious systemic reactionsto subcutaneous immunotherapy can be reduced significantly by usingcorticosteroids and antihistamines prior to the immunotherapy. Serious sideeffects of immunotherapy require immediate medical attention.