By Susan Raschal, D.O.
Over the past several months there has been increased media coverage of allergy drops, a newly publicized method for the treatment of allergies.
Allergy drops, also known as Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT), are designed as a substitute for allergy shots which are used to treat allergic nasal and chest symptoms to pollen, pets, molds, dust mites, etc.
If given a choice many would prefer SLIT, as it is safer and easier to administer, without the use of needles. Although this method is very promising as an additional tool for allergists, it is premature in its release.
First, this method of immunotherapy administration or SLIT currently is not FDA approved. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the Joint Commission for Allergy Asthma and Immunology, the research on SLIT has not shown a proven standard effective dosage. The studies have shown effective doses which range from 40-500 times the concentration of allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy).
In addition, insurance reimbursement is based in part on CPT codes; however there is no current CPT code for allergy drops. In short, no CPT code, no insurance reimbursement. This means each patient is responsible for the cost, even if they have health insurance.
In summary, although allergy drops are very promising, it is not FDA approved, no standard effective dose is known and it is not covered by insurance. Allergy shots are still considered the standard of care by the premier organizations which set precedence for board certified allergists in the nation.
Susan Raschal, DO is board certified in Allergy & Immunology. She currently practices at Asthma, Immunology and Allergy Associates in Cleveland, TN, Chattanooga, TN and in North Georgia. She received her doctor of osteopathy degree from the University Of New England College Of Osteopathic Medicine in 1990. After completion of a 1 year internship in St. Louis, MO she completed a 3 year Internal Medicine residency followed by 3 years of fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at RUSH St. Luke's Medical Canter in Chicago, IL. She has been a member of the Chattanooga & Hamilton County Medical Society since 1998. She is currently accepting new patients with allergy, asthma and immunologic diseases.
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