AAAAI 2008 Notes: Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)

sublingual immunotherapyAt this year's meeting, several allergy researchers spoke about SLIT – sublingual immunotherapy. This ‘new’ allergy treatment is similar to SCIT- subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots) – but SLIT delivers the solution in the form of drops under the tongue, as opposed to a needle in the arm.

Some allergists in the U.S. already offer SLIT, although it has not yet been approved by the FDA. SLIT has been available in Europe for several years. In 1998, the World Health Organization concluded that sublignual immunotherapy is a viable alternative to injection.

SLIT accounts for 40 percent of allergy treatment in Europe, and FDA approval is pending.

SLIT may be a viable option for food allergy treatment as well; more studies are under way.

People receiving SLIT treatments should not exercise during the four hours following treatment, as vigorous exercise could induce a reaction, possibly anaphylaxis.

SLIT is a wonderful option for children and people who have a phobia of needles.

Immunotherapy (both SCIT and SLIT) is underutilized, even though it is effective and long-lasting. Hopefully, once the FDA approves SLIT, more people will open up to the idea of immunotherapy.

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