Avoidance of allergic triggers and use of allergy medications are major components of allergy management. However, Allergy Immunotherapy is the only treatment that builds up the immune system’s tolerance to allergens, which can prevent the problem from occurring. This is more of a problem- fixer as opposed to medications that only suppress the symptoms. Injections are effective for allergies to pollen (grasses, weeds, trees), dust mites, animals and molds. Improvement may be seen with allergy injections by 3-6 months. Allergy treatment needs to be continued to maintain benefit and build up long term immunity, to sustain benefit after the treatment period. In the beginning, allergy medications should be used with allergy injections. When the allergy treatment becomes effective, the physician will provide guidance on when to reduced or discontinue allergy medications.
Our Phoenix Valley Allergists determine the need for allergy injections based on the following: patient history, reaction size to skin allergy testing, and significance of the allergen to the geographical area. Allergy shots are 80-90% beneficial with significant reduction in symptoms. It is important for you to consider the following factors when deciding on allergy injections:
Allergy injections are indicated for the patients who want to reduce allergy or asthma medications. Arizona Asthma and Allergy Institute allergists in the Phoenix Valley also give injections to patients whose allergies aren’t controlled with regular use of allergy or asthma medications.
For patient safety, allergy injections must be given in a medical facility with a medical provider present. This is done so that emergency medical equipment is readily available, in case of an allergy reaction. No allergy injections may be given at home. Although the allergy treatment is generally well tolerated, there is a mandatory 30 minute wait in the medical office after allergy injections to monitor for side effects. Local reactions on the arm may occur and are easily treated. Systemic reactions (symptoms outside of the injection site) could occur in 1 out of every 1,000 injections (0.1% chance). These are generally mild but on rare occasion serious reactions could occur. However, these are very treatable in the medical office with appropriate medications such as Epinephrine, etc.
The first year of allergy treatments require 1-2 visits per week during the build up phase until a maintenance dose is reached. (Note: twice weekly injections during the build-up phase are not an expectation and only for those that want to build up quickly for more rapid results. Otherwise weekly injections are adequate). After the build up phase when the strongest dilution is achieved, the recommended schedule is weekly during the first year. Illness and vacations are a part of life, so these missed doses do not prevent patients from getting benefit if the schedule is kept up at least 80% of the time. For longer absences, doses are adjusted based on the time missed so patients can resume therapy for benefit.
Even though patients have built up tolerance to allergens during the first year, allergy treatment needs to continue to keep the immune system from reverting back to its allergic state. Fortunately, injections can be less frequent each year to still maintain benefits and help develop long term immunity. After the first year of allergy injections, the schedule is generally extended to every 2 weeks for the second year and every 3 weeks by the third year. The fourth and fifth years, injections are typically given every 4 weeks. Patients that finish five years of allergy injections have the best chance of doing well for many years after injections have ceased.
No appointment is necessary. We have several offices available in the Phoenix Valley to accommodate work, school and home locations. Please review our allergy injection hours.
Looking to schedule an appointment at one of our Phoenix Valley allergy and asthma clinics? Please contact our billing office at 602-843-2991 ext. 2005 for costs and to check your insurance coverage.