Allergy drops a good alternative to shots, analysis says
Allergy drops are safe and convenient, researchers say.
Itching for allergy relief?
Under-the-tongue drops instead of allergy shots may be a good option for some patients who suffer from allergies and allergic asthma, according to a new analysis. The report will be published online Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore looked at studies in which researchers put small amounts of an inhaled allergen, such as mold and pollen, in liquid drops under the tongue. The review found that such drop therapy is a safe and effective alternative to a weekly allergy shot for boosting immunity.
"Our findings are clear evidence that sublingual immunotherapy in the form of allergy drops are an effective potential treatment option," says senior study investigator Sandra Lin.
In eight of 13 studies, researchers found "strong evidence" that drop therapy led to a 40% or higher reduction in chest tightness, coughing and wheezing compared with other treatments.
The researchers analyzed 63 published studies, involving 5,131 participants, mostly in Europe, where allergy drops are widely available.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved taking the drops under the tongue as a therapy. But doctors in the USA prescribe the drops "off-label" for some patients, Lin says.
Lin, an associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins' School of Medicine, says allergy drops are more convenient for many people. Because the drops can be taken at home, patients can save time by not having to make regular trips to the doctor's office for an allergy shot.
Lin says studies about effective doses in the USA are needed.