Also known as allergen specific immunotherapy (SIT), this treatment is used by patients suffering from respiratory allergies (pollens, mites, molds) and allergies caused by hymenoptera.
SIT, not only relieves symptoms, but fights the causes of allergy.
The WHO recognizes SIT as the only treatment that can “cure the allergy and change the quality of life of the patient”.
Desensitization is based on the principle of administering small and gradually increasing amounts of allergens that cause the allergic reaction in the patient.
Currently, there are 2 types of desensitization therapy:
- Sublingual: the allergen is left for a few minutes under the tongue. This type of immunotherapy is very well tolerated and avoids the need for injections. This is a good therapeutic option for patients who cannot undergo injections. However, the vaccine must initially be taken regularly, every day and then 3 times/week, for at least 3 years.
- Subcutaneous (injection): during the induction phase (6-8 weeks), the allergens are injected weekly by the medical doctor in increasing doses until the maximum dose is reached. Afterwards, maintenance therapy is conducted on a monthly basis for at least 3 years.
In pollen allergies (pollinosis), treatment should begin before the pollen season.
Desensitization rarely causes side effects: mild local reactions (itching or wheal) at the injection site or an occasional tingling sensation in the mouth in the case of sublingual therapy can occur.