Dr Michael Radcliffe
Allergen Immunotherapy (desensitisation)
Allergen Immunotherapy (desensitisation) treatment has traditionally been considered as the last option. However, in certain cases this viewpoint can be challenged. The main advantage of immunotherapy is that it alters the immune response to the allergen rather than just suppressing the symptoms.
Desensitisation treatment no longer requires injections ('allergy shots') in every case. Oral treatment with drops or tablets placed under the tongue (oral Immunotherapy) is now the most widely practiced form of desensitisation treatment in Europe although it has yet to become popular in the UK.
Avoidance and Symptom Suppression
Once specific triggers of allergy have been identified, treatment options include allergen avoidance and appropriate medication.
Antihistamines are not identical in their mode of action and major improvement may follow a change of type or dosage. Steroids can be used both locally in the form of creams, nasal sprays or inhalers, or systemically in the form of tablets. They can be very useful when used for a few days to bring about rapid improvement and initiate a recovery.
Immune System Suppresion
Many other pharmacological treatments can be used to treat the symptoms of allergy. Antileukotrienes, immunosuppresives or anti-IgE injections may be the answer when first-line treatments fail.
In the treatment of hay fever, clinical trials have shown up to 60% reductions in symptom scores and medication needs of patients who have used the method before and during the grass pollen season.