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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

How Do You Know if Allergy Shot Are a Good Option?

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Question
How do you decide if getting allergy shots would be good for the patient? Is there a test done to see if you qualify to get allergy shots? I'm interested in asking about trying them! Once a patient starts allergy shots is there an ending period? Like 5 years? Or is it longer term?
Answer

Allergy shots, formally known as allergen immunotherapy, are a very effective form of allergy treatment. A typical course lasts 3-5 years to achieve maximum benefit and control of allergy symptoms.

The recommendation for starting allergy shots is typically made if a patient has persistent allergies with or without asthma symptoms despite using nasal saline irrigations, antihistamines, topical nasal steroids, and other common treatments. Some patients cannot tolerate allergy medications due to side effects and they may be a candidate for allergy shots. Allergy shots are not a cure for allergies, but can significantly help symptoms.

Allergy shots are typically administered for 5 years, but this decision needs to be made by the physician and patient. Ultimately, shared decision-making with your healthcare team would be very important in making your final decision here. This should include a thorough discussion addressing the risks and benefits of starting this treatment.

Categories
Allergy, Immunotherapy, Treatment
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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