Drops Known As 'Sublingual Immunotherapy' Aren't For Everyone, But Have The Backing Of Some Doctors

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We’ve been talking quite a bit about the terrible heat. But the temperature is not the only problem with the air.

Allergy season is in full swing, thanks to all the pollen out there.

But now you may be able to get easier and complete relief with allergy drops.

Julia Fominova has been dealing with severe allergies for most of her life, and even began to dread the coming of spring.

“It was a disaster and torture and every spring it actually got worse and worse,” Fominova said. “I couldn’t take my kids outside to the park. I couldn’t enjoy the beauty of it, the beauty of the nature.

“It was torture for me for sure,” she added.

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Allergy sufferers may get relief with certain drops. Doctors say the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. (Photo: CBS2)

But Fominova found relief in the form of allergy drops. They’re taken at home, and combine her specific allergens into a serum that she places under her tongue.

“I did not have allergies this spring for the first time in my entire life,” she said.

The drops, called “sublingual immunotherapy,” are a replacement for allergy injections. They aren’t for every sufferer, but can be a game changer for those who hate needles, or don’t have time for weekly doctor appointments.

“You have to select the patient who will listen to the dosing that you have prescribed for them because if you take too many or try to titrate it on your own, it can be dangerous,” allergist and immunologist Dr. Purvi Parikh from the Allergy & Asthma Network told CBS2’s Bauman.

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Traditional scratch testing is sill needed to determine the particular allergens, but doctors agree allergy drops are an effective new way to get relief.

“It changes the severity by far. For some, it’s miraculous. For others, it’s better,” allergist Dr. Robert Eitches said.

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Doctors say the drops may have some side effects.

“With the drops, you can even get swelling in your mouth or even tongue swelling, which can be quite scary,” Dr. Parikh said.

But Fominova said the tongue irritation in the first month was a non-issue, and she adds that the drops have done more than just get rid of her allergies.

“My thinking is better. I’m focused. I can enjoy life,” she said. “It’s worth everything, honestly. It saved my life.”

Allergy drops are not FDA approved or covered by insurance, and more studies are still needed to determine things like exact dosage for patients, Bauman reported.

The patient CBS2 spoke to said she spends around $100 per month on her drops. Doctors emphasize that, regardless of which treatment patients take, they still need to be closely monitored.