Understanding Sublingual Immunotherapy 

Sublingual immunotherapy may help with your allergies. It may ease your symptoms if you are allergic to dust mites or pollen from ragweed and grass. 

Sublingual means under the tongue. It refers to how you do the treatment. You put a small dose of allergen under your tongue. An allergen is any substance that causes an allergic reaction. The dose may come in the form of a tablet. Talk with your healthcare provider about other forms of this treatment.

Why sublingual immunotherapy is done

This treatment helps ease your allergies. It puts small amounts of an allergen into your body over time. You build up a tolerance to the allergen. As a result, symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, or trouble breathing may not be as bad. They may even go away. 

Sublingual immunotherapy can be done in place of allergy shots. But you don’t have to see your healthcare provider for each dose. The treatment may also be safer. You are less likely to have a bad allergic reaction from it. 

How sublingual immunotherapy is done 

Your first dose is done under the supervision of your healthcare provider. He or she will watch you for any signs of a bad allergic reaction. You will have to stay in the office for at least 30 minutes after you take the dose. After that, you will be able to do it by yourself. 

  • Place the tablet under your tongue.

  • Wait for the tablet to dissolve, about 1 minute. You can then swallow.

  • Don’t drink or eat anything for at least 5 minutes after a dose.

  • You may have some minor reactions, such as itching or swelling in your mouth. These symptoms should lessen over time as you take each dose.

  • Give yourself a dose once a day or as often as your healthcare provider tells you to. For the best results, you may need to do this for several years.  

Sublingual immunotherapy is often started about 3 months before allergy season. Talk with your healthcare provider about what you should do if you miss a dose. If you have asthma, don’t take a dose if your asthma isn’t under control. 

Risks of sublingual immunotherapy include: 

  • Mouth or throat problems, such as itching, swelling, or ulcers

  • Heartburn or trouble swallowing

  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)