Best Allergy Treatment: Shots vs. Drops - Which is the best medication for you?

December 3, 2018

Best Medication for Treating Arizona Allergies?

Do you suffer from seasonal or perennial allergies, and over the counter medicine is not helping enough? In that case, we recommend immunotherapy which is an effective solution for keeping allergies at bay, and even reducing them over time.  Immunotherapy allows us to desensitize your body to the triggering substances over time. We can do this with a series of shots, or oral sublingual drops.

Most people tell us they want the drops, also known as sublingual immunotherapy. Who wants shots, right? But choosing between drops and allergy shots is actually less straightforward.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Allergy Drops and Shots

  1. Standardized vs. Personalized Treatment - Drops vs. Shots - Oral sublingual drops are convenient, made right in our office, and matched to your precise allergy profile. They are meant to target a broad spectrum of allergens.

    The standardized mix of shots might not be the right one for you, even though others do just fine with that mix. Just like some people can manage their allergies with over-the-counter medications but others are not. A certified allergy doctor would be able to figure out the right option for your specific problem.
  2. Convenience - Shots vs. Drops - If the drops end up being a good option for your specific issues, they're also more convenient. You will not have to come into the clinic weekly or monthly as you would have to do with allergy shots. However, do keep in mind that even though allergy drops will not require as many clinic visits as allergy shots, you still should visit your doctor regularly (perhaps quarterly) to make sure you are on the right mix. Other pros for drops:

    • They are easier to take since they dissolve under the tongue.They are easier to take since they dissolve under the tongue.
    • Easy for children to take.
  3. Long-term Effectiveness& Safety: Shots vs. Drops - Once tolerance is achieved, both shots and drops can have permanent results for many patients. Clinical trials have shown that the effects appear to be long lasting. On the other hand, studies show that drops are also safe and effective. Dangerous, life threatening anaphylaxis is rarely seen from patients taking drops.

    Pros of Shots: Allergy shots have been around for a long time, and they have proven long term benefits, ending allergic responses for years after the shots have been stopped. They can vastly reduce a patient’s risk of developing asthma too.

    Pros of Drops: Meanwhile, taking drops offers a similar benefit -- studies show that sublingual drops can produce a reduction in symptoms over time. For some, this reduction will be more than enough to improve quality of life.
  4. Insurance Coverage and Cost: Shots vs. Drops - Given you probably don't want shots (less than 5% of allergy patients are willing to get them), you might wonder why we continue to offer them. The answer boils down to insurance coverage.

    As the American Sinus Institute notes, "The FDA considers allergy drops to be an off-label use of an approved antigen." This means many insurance plans refuse to cover the drops even though they work just as well as the shots do. Thus, allergy shots may be your least costly option since most of the insurance plans we accept will cover them.

    Even though most insurance companies do not cover tablets, studies show that the cost of drops can be quite competitive because of less travel time back and forth to the office for frequent shots, plus no co-pays are required.

About Sinus and Allergy Wellness Center

If this article has raised some questions for you, or you are interested in trying out a new type of therapy to help with your allergies, please contact our office. Our skilled team of sinus and allergy doctors are devoted to providing patients with sinus, allergy, sleep, and snoring solutions. Click here to learn more about our allergy treatments or for allergy testing.

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