Sublingual Immunotherapy

How Allergy Drops Can Help Treat Your Allergies


Sublingual ImmunotherapyAnyone with allergies knows how irritating and disruptive they can be to your everyday routine. Watery eyes, runny noses, and coughing are your body’s way of trying to ride the foreign substances from your system, but these symptoms of allergies can be difficult to manage.

Our ENT doctors help patients manage allergies in Los Angeles in a variety of ways so that they can get back to better breathing and continue their everyday life. While many of our patients are aware that we offer balloon sinuplasty, allergy shots, and solutions for post-nasal drip, they may not know that we offer an allergy solution that is effective without being invasive.

Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is a way to relieve chronic allergy sufferers without the stress of surgery or the pain of shots. Sublingual Immunotherapy, also known as allergy drops, exposes you to small doses of something you’re allergic to in order to start building an immunity to it, and they are called allergy drops because the allergen is placed under the tongue.

After repeated exposure to the allergen, your body will start to be less affected, saving you from symptoms of allergic rhinitis, like sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. Eventually, your body will become tolerant of the allergen, so you get fewer or less severe symptoms when exposed to larger amounts of it. When allergy season is in full swing, you will ideally not feel the discomfort you normally feel.

The allergens that SLIT can protect you against include:

  • Ragweed
  • Timothy grass
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Animal dander

Allergens like ragweed and Timothy grass are two allergens that affect many people during allergy season. If you experiencing a runny nose or itchy throat in the spring or fall, then you may benefit from allergy drops. Unlike allergy medications, SLIT and allergy shots treat the allergies themselves, while pills like Zyrtec and Claritin only treat the symptoms.

How Allergy Drops Are Administered
SLIT is a proactive way of treating allergies. SLIT actively builds resistance in your body so that you don’t react to allergens while medications treat the symptoms of your allergic reaction.

You need to start your journey to allergy relief by visiting an ENT doctor in Los Angeles to determine what substances you are allergic to. One of our ENT specialists in Los Angeles can perform allergy testing on you to see which substances cause an allergic reaction. Allergy testing is performed by pricking your skin in a grid pattern with different common allergens, and depending on which areas experience an allergic reaction, the results will be recorded as an exact list of what you are allergic to.

Once our in-office allergy testing lets you and our allergy specialists know what you are allergic to and how sensitive you are to these allergens, you can start Los Angeles allergy immunotherapy. Our Los Angeles allergy specialists will then create a custom blend of allergy drops designed specifically for you.

One of the best things about allergy drops is accessibility. Instead of regularly visiting your local ENT to get a shot, you can put these drops under your tongue in the comfort of your own home. Depending on your personal level of allergies, you will have to use these drops once a day, or less than that depending on your doctor’s orders.

The first dose is a bit different than the doses after. Your first dose of allergy drops will need to be administered at the doctor’s office to ensure that it’s being done correctly. To successfully administer your allergy drops and build immunity, you will need to:

  • Place the tablet under your tongue
  • Hold it there until it’s dissolved
  • Avoid swallowing for one minute after, and avoid eating or drinking for five minutes after

Our ENTs will ask you to stay in the office so that you can be monitored for half an hour in case you have a severe reaction. While severe reactions are rare, we like to ensure that you can receive professional medical attention if you do experience a bad reaction.

After the first dose, you can start taking the drops under your tongue at home for a certain period of time.

The first four months are known as the escalation period, where your dosage will slowly be increased to start building immunity. Then, in the maintenance phase, the dosage will stabilize, and you will take this dosage every day.

To achieve total and long-lasting immunity, most of our patients will have to take these allergy drops on a regular basis for three to five years. However, they will only have to take them three or five times a week instead of every day.

Are Allergy Drops Worth It?
Allergy drops are a more comfortable alternative to allergy shots since they don’t require injections of any kind. They can also be taken in the comfort of your own home, which is appealing to many.

Allergy drops are also safe for children, and parents will find that it’s much easier to get the child to take them instead of an allergy shot.

This method of allergy treatment can also be beneficial to your wallet. Because the drops after the first dose can be taken at home, they may be less expensive than allergy shots. Unlike many other ENT offices in LA, Westside Head & Neck accepts most insurance, such as PPO insurance plans, Medicare, and select HMO’s, making this treatment available to many allergy sufferers in Los Angeles.

Risks and Side Effects
SLIT has been examined for two decades to ensure its safety and effectiveness. Side effects are relatively uncommon among both children and adults, and most of these side effects occur early in treatment when the patient is still at the doctor’s office.

The most common side effects include itching in the mouth or discomfort in the stomach following taking the allergy drops. If you experience these side effects, your doctor can adjust your dose to a smaller one. Anaphylactic shock is very rare.

 About Westside Head & Neck
The board-certified ENT doctors of Westside Head & Neck treat all general conditions of the ear, nose, and throat. If you are experiencing irritation in the spring or fall, then you may have allergies.

You can get to the bottom of your discomfort if you visit our two offices, conveniently located in Santa Monica and Culver City. To set up an appointment to discuss your ENT issues with any of our physicians at either location, please call (310) 361-5128 or email appointments@westsidehn.com.


Head & Neck Cancer


Head & Neck Cancer is a term used to describe a number of different malignant tumors that develop in or around the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth.

Most head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, meaning they begin in the flat, squamous cells that make up the thin surface layer of the structures in the head and neck. Directly beneath this lining, which is called the epithelium, some areas of the head and neck have a layer of moist tissue, called the mucosa. If a cancer is limited to the squamous layer of cells, it is called carcinoma in situ. If the cancer has grown beyond this cell layer and moved into the deeper tissue, then it is called invasive squamous cell carcinoma.

Types of Head & Neck Cancer

There are five main types of head and neck cancer, each named according to the part of the body where they develop.   For more information, including signs and symptoms about each different form of  head and neck cancers listed below, click on the links below to read more on Cancer.net.

Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer. The larynx is commonly called the voice box. It is a tube-shaped organ in the neck that is important for breathing, talking, and swallowing. It is located at the top of the windpipe, or trachea. The hypopharynx is also called the gullet. It is the lower part of the throat that surrounds the larynx.

Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer. The nasal cavity is the space just behind the nose where air passes on the way to the throat. The paranasal sinuses are the air-filled areas that surround the nasal cavity.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer. The nasopharynx is the air passageway at the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer. The oral cavity includes the mouth and tongue. The oropharynx includes the middle of the throat from the tonsils to the tip of the voice box.

Salivary Gland Cancer. The salivary gland is tissue that produces saliva, which is the fluid that is released into the mouth to keep it moist and that contains enzymes that begin breaking down food.

Information above provided by & approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board06/2014

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