If you are a primary care physician, you probably see quite a few patients each day who complain of allergy symptoms. Both food and environmental allergies are on the rise and now affect at least 20 percent of the population.
When patients complain of allergies, most physicians start by prescribing medications, including antihistamines and corticosteroids. Sometimes this is enough to help patients navigate allergy season. In other cases, though, the medications are only moderately effective in managing symptoms. And some patients may have difficulty taking the medications due to their side effects.
If patients are only symptomatic for a few months of the year, medications are a great place to start. If they suffer from allergies for four or more months of the year or experience symptoms that last for a shorter time but are severe, they may be a candidate for allergy immunotherapy.
In the past, you may have referred patients out for allergy treatment, but this can present challenges of its own. Patients may not like the idea of going to an unfamiliar physician who may not be conveniently located. As a PCP, you may lose continuity of care after making the referral. In response to these challenges, many primary care physicians are now adopting turnkey allergy treatment programs and treating their allergic patients in-house with sublingual immunotherapy.
What is Sublingual Immunotherapy?
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is much like allergy shots except that antigen is delivered to the body through under-the-tongue allergy drops instead of through injections. The antigen absorbs into the bloodstream through special cells in the mouth. Over time, the antigen helps the body develop immunity to the very things that once made it miserable.
SLIT has been shown to be as effective as allergy shots, but it is safer so it can be taken at home. It is also easy to comply with—patients squirt their allergy serum under their tongue once a day. No pain, no hassle! SLIT has also been shown to be safe for children under age 5, as opposed to shots which are not usually appropriate for kids under the age of 7 or 8.
Offering Sublingual Immunotherapy in Your Clinic
If you decide to provide sublingual immunotherapy in your practice, you can start by ordering an allergy test kit through a turnkey allergy testing and treatment program. The program can supply you with clinical training, allergy testing supplies, and support for prescribing sublingual immunotherapy. You can provide environmental allergy treatment as well as food allergy treatment. (Sublingual immunotherapy works for both.)
Incorporating SLIT into your primary care clinic will help you offer more services to your patients and increase your medical practice profits. Contact AllergyEasy for more information.