MILWAUKEE, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Those who suffer from allergic asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis or stinging insect allergies may be good candidates to receive immunotherapy, also known as "allergy shots," according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
"Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that aims to decrease sensitivity to substances called allergens," said Linda Cox, MD, FAAAAI, Chair of the AAAAI's Immunotherapy and Allergy Diagnostics Committee. "Allergens, like pollen, mold or animal dander, are substances that trigger allergy symptoms when an allergic person is exposed to them. Patients who receive immunotherapy are injected with increasing amounts of an allergen until the target therapeutic dose is reached, in an effort to build resistance to specific allergens."
Immunotherapy has proven to prevent the development of new allergies, and it may prevent the progression of allergic disease from allergic rhinitis to asthma. Immunotherapy can also lead to long-lasting relief of allergy symptoms after treatment is stopped.
How does immunotherapy work?
Immunotherapy works like a vaccine. Your body responds to the injected
amounts of a particular allergen, given in gradually increasing doses, by
developing immunity or tolerance to the allergen(s). As a result, allergy
symptoms decrease or minimize when you are exposed to that allergy in the
There are generally two phases to immunotherapy:
-- Build-up phase: This involves receiving injections with increasing
amounts of the allergens about one to two times per week. The length of
this phase depends upon how often the injections are received, but
generally ranges from three to six months on a conventional build-up
schedule. The target dose may be reached in a much shorter period of
time (one day to several weeks) with rapid build-up schedules, referred
to as "cluster and rush
|SOURCE American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology|
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