Immunotherapy, or desensitisation, is one of the most effective therapies for allergic rhinitis and asthma caused by allergies.
This therapy involves administration/taking doses of allergen/allergoid mixture, which – at natural exposure levels – produce the disease symptoms. This has been proved by skin prick tests and/or through marking specific IgE.
The treatment aims to induce the body’s immunological tolerance to the allergens used, lead to significant attenuation of the disease symptoms and reduce the need for medicines at natural exposure. A significant effect is most often achieved after two years of immunotherapy. The minimum treatment period is usually 3 years, at least one year after achieving the maximum effect. It is determined individually for each patient in the range from 3 to 5 years, and, in exceptional cases, even longer than 5 years.
The treatment can be provided year-round or seasonally. There are two possible route of administering an allergen/allergoid: subcutaneous and sublingual. The choice is always made by a physician in agreement with the patient. Desensitising treatment requires absolute compliance with the principles prescribed by the allergist in charge, based on the producer’s recommendations, the algorithms of management established by the Polish Society of Allergology and the clinical experience of a physician in order to achieve maximum therapeutic effects with a minimum risk of complications.
During immunotherapy, it is necessary to continue the current pharmacological treatments and carry on limiting natural exposure to the allergen. Intensified allergic symptoms are a contraindication to administering a subsequent dose of immunotherapy, because they may promote the occurrence of intensified local or systemic reaction after immunotherapy administration.
On the day of vaccination it is forbidden to drink alcohol, use a sauna or take a hot bath. It is also disallowed to work out in a gym or get involved in a physically demanding work. The diet should exclude larger quantities of chocolate, cheese, tomatoes, ripe fruit and smoked fish.
The therapy is very effective and, in a number of cases, it results in reduction or discontinuation of anti-allergic medicines.
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