Immunotherapy is an effective treatment option for allergies. However, it is important to note that immunotherapy only applies to environmental allergies.
Food allergies and contact allergies are treated by avoidance of the identified allergens.
The goal of immunotherapy is to train the immune system to no longer react to otherwise harmless substances. This is achieved with weekly injections of an allergen solution to the patient.
The dosage of the allergen given to the patient is not enough to cause a reaction but is sufficient to acclimatize the immune system to the allergen over some time.
As the patient’s immune system becomes desensitized, the dose of the allergen is slowly increased. Maintenance injections are then administered monthly until the immune system develops a tolerance to the allergen and severe allergy symptoms are minimized.
This process may take up to six months, although more permanent immunization is possible if the treatment is continued for three to five years.
Immunotherapy is mainly reserved for severe cases of allergies that can lead to fatal complications.
These include bee stings or severe allergic rhinitis (hay fever).