A recent breakthrough in the allergy world has taken place in the form of sublingual immunotherapy for children suffering with an allergy to peanuts. As a method of exposure therapy, children were issued a 4mg dose of liquid extract peanut over the course of six months which eventually produced entire immunity against the allergy for seventeen weeks without therapy. SLIT (sublingual immunotherapy) provides an alternative for allergen sufferers who have to be issued shots by their doctors, providing the same allergen extract in drop form.
The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and was carried out by colleagues at the North Carolina School of Medicine. Analysing forty-seven children aged 1-11 years suffering with a peanut allergy over the course of 48 months, those undertaking the study discovered that seventy percent involved in the investigation achieved significant desensitization, whilst 36% reached full desensitization to peanuts following the experiment.
As a form of exposure therapy, sublingual immunotherapy trains the immune system to tolerate certain allergies over the course of time, eventually providing patients who partake in such with temporary immunity to allergens that would have originally given them a severe reaction. Although it does come with the potential harm of inducing an allergic reaction, SLIT therapy does come with a reassuring high safety factor. Those with severe allergies must take part in SLIT therapy for over 3-5 years to gain entire exposure and see results, with a success rate of 80%.
Many will be turning to sublingual immunotherapy in preparation for the approaching summer, where hay fever allergies run rampant. Self-administration of hay fever drops in the SLIT form have been found to be more effective than hay fever shots when it comes to the speed at which symptoms are relieved, and are found to be easier self-administrated at home. Although the drops provide patients with protection from a handful of allergens, there is also a tablet that can be consumed in the SLIT form that targets specific and single allergens.
When undergoing sublingual immunotherapy, patients will originally be administered with a small amount of the allergen in a controlled environment, increasing the dose bit by bit as the immune system starts to build up a tolerance due to the exposure. Made from purified extracts, those suffering with more than one allergy are provided with a customised vial of drips that cater to each specific one, working together to provide desensitization.
Having an allergy can be a constricting and debilitating force that can wreak havoc on the lives of individuals dealing with such. Sublingual immunotherapy is a step towards a safer and secure environment for those living with allergies, providing them with a safe and easy option that can change their reality entirely when it comes to living with an allergy.
Edited By Aminat Akintobi
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