We have recently added this form of desensitisation to our choice of treatments for inhalant allergies, such as hay fever. Unlike the conventional method, which is administered with subcutaneous injections, sub-lingual immunotherapy is taken home for self-administration. Its main features include:
Seasonal and perennial rhinitis or conjunctivitis (if caused by airborne allergens), mild to moderate asthma or eczema
Severe (“brittle”) asthma, eczema and medical conditions which require concurrent use of several medications e.g cardiovascular disease, cancer and others.
SLIT is not suitable for other types of allergy (e.g nuts or bee/wasp venom) or “non-allergic” food hypersensitivity.
SLIT is becoming more widely available in USA, Europe and the UK for its improved safety, easier use and excellent results. The prospect of long term immunity is also very attractive.
Product name: Stalloral, manufactured in France by Stallargens
Supplied/prescribed : by qualified medical practitioners
Availability in NHS: a few hospital centres
Administration: as sub-lingual spray/drops
Dose: 4-10 drops daily from metered-dose vials, whose concentration gradually increases to a maintenance dose for the duration of the course.
Limitations: the maximum number of allergens, which can be ordered is 4 i.e. 1 tree pollen mix, 1 grass pollen mix (or one grass pollen), cat mix, dust mite (or a mixture of the two common dust mites). The proportion of the allergens in the SLIT vials is determined on the basis of each person’s history and test results.
Duration of therapy: Seasonal allergies: 6-9 months per annum, usually February to August (earlier for tree pollens) and, if successful during the first year, repeat for 2-4 years. For non-seasonal (perennial) allergies such as cat dander or house dust mites, continuous use and, if successful during the first year, repeat for 2-4 years.
Costs: £405.00 for 3 months, £810.00 for 6 months and £1,620.00 for 12 months (approx. £135.00 per month all inclusive).
Additional costs: Annual review and (optional) skin prick tests or allergen specific Immunoglobulin E.