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Improved Allergy Shots Might Be on Horizon
Date:11/3/2011

THURSDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Allergy shots are time-tested treatments that reduce health care costs and can now provide relief to allergy sufferers within weeks instead of months, according to experts.

And while allergy shots are currently given under the skin (subcutaneously), new methods of allergy immunotherapy are being investigated, delegates heard at this week's annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Boston.

Those potential new techniques include:

  • Intralymphatic immunotherapy (ILIT), which involves injecting allergens into a lymph node. Initial research shows that this approach provides a longer-lasting and more effective response, suggesting the dose and length of treatment could be shortened.
  • Epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT) involves lightly scraping a patient's skin and then applying a patch that delivers the allergens through the bloodstream.

Accelerated allergy immunotherapy and the cost benefits of immunotherapy were also discussed at the meeting.

Conventional immunotherapy requires patients to receive an allergy shot once or twice a week for about five months. But "rush" and "cluster" immunotherapy methods feature accelerated schedules to shorten that treatment period.

Rush immunotherapy typically involves giving multiple injections to a patient two or three days in a row, but schedules may be shorter or longer based on circumstances. Cluster immunotherapy involves two to four injections, given 30 minutes apart, one day a week for three weeks.

"You shouldn't have to put your life on hold to treat your allergies," Dr. Richard Weber, ACAAI vice president, said in a college news release. "Accelerated schedules offer patients more flexibility, faster results and a treatment plan they are more likely to follow because it reflects their needs and busy lifestyle."

"Research shows accelerated schedule
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