Desensitize, Avoid exposure, Medicate
Common Allergy Injections – based on skin testing, custom prepared allergy extracts are injected in the patient's upper arm once or twice-weekly until a maintenance level is achieved at which time injections may effectively be given every two or three weeks. As the dose increases, the body's sensitivity to the substance decreases and symptoms diminish. The body's chemistry is modified so as to not react to the allergy provoking substances: Patient's typically notice improvement within 3-6 months. The length of treatment varies depending on the patient and the severity of the problem but typically lasts 3-5 years.
Sublingual Extracts/Drops – we call this "drinking your shots". Using similar extracts as with injections, the antigens are placed under the tongue and absorbed through the floor of the mouth where they communicate with the immune system. Advantages include convenience for the patient by self-administering at home, greater safety and no pain. Children typically do well with this format.
Low-Dose Antigen Therapy (LDA) – LDA is a method of immunotherapy that desensitizes by combining a wide variety of extremely low dose allergens with an enzyme mixture containing beta-glucuronidase. Although injected, this technique is completely different from standard weekly allergy shots. Developed in England over 45 years ago, LDA uses a combination of over 350 antigens and a natural enzyme at extremely low doses. This natural enzyme potentiates the effect of the tiny quantity of antigens impacting the T cells, the managers of immune system, regulating the immune response. The fresh T cells then program the immune system to not overreact to the allergy triggers.
Frequency – since each batch of T cells lives about two months, LDA shots are given every two months at the start. Gradually the T cells learn how to replicate correctly without the injection so the interval is extended to four, six, or more months apart. The number of injections needed depends upon the condition being treated but is generally between 6-18 injections.
Conditions – LDA is used in the treatment of many conditions including:
- Hay fever –allergic nasal rhinitis
- Allergy based asthma
- Chronic headaches
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Food allergy and food sensitivity
- Chemical sensitivity
Safety – because of the extreme low-dose required, LDA has proven very safe with no reports of anaphylactic reactions in the United States going back to the start of the program in 2002.
More information – An interesting article by Dr. Shrader, the physician who developed LDA, is provided for further study here.
Note: not all patients can be desensitized in the early stages. Some must always carry immediate emergency treatment with them and live and work only in extremely clean environments and only eat safe foods. Allergy problems in certain patients can be very complex and may need more extended evaluation and treatment.