Immunotherapy is based on the concept that your immune system can gradually become desensitized to specific allergens that act as triggers and cause allergic symptoms. The main difference between Immunotherapy and medications is the long-term effect; once you stop taking medications, your allergy symptoms return shortly afterward.
Once a patient’s allergy test results come back positive and a custom desensitization serum is mixed for them, they come back and are counseled on the proper administration of the serum and given the choice to either have their serum administered in-office or self-administered at home. The patient is checked monthly to ensure compliance with the program and to determine if any modifications are needed to the serum to allow more tolerance of the therapy.
Even though the risks accompanying Immunotherapy are rare, it should only be given under the supervision of a qualified physician or physician extender to eliminate the risk of life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Immunotherapy treatment involves multiple phases. The build-up phase focuses on gradually increasing injections of the allergen(s) once or twice per week until the patient’s personal target dose is reached. This phase regularly takes 3-6 months but could be achieved in less time with an accelerated schedule. The maintenance phase follows the build-up phase; once the target dose is reached, the time between injections is increased to twice or once per month. This phase generally continues for 3-5 years, the duration of the treatment varies from person to person.