If your primary care practice is like others in America, roughly 20 percent of your patients suffer from allergies. These may be allergies to pollen, dust, mold, pet dander, or food. Regardless, you know what it’s like to want to help these patients—and not just through temporary, stopgap measures.
Medications, including antihistamines, are good places to start for treating allergic patients. They can take the edge off of seasonal allergies by stifling symptoms. If patients have short bursts of allergies, antihistamines or decongestants may be all that are needed to get them through. However, medications have their limitations. They can have side effects and are usually only partially effective in relieving symptoms. And they don’t provide lasting relief; once patients stop taking their meds, the symptoms come right back.
Another option is to refer patients out for allergy shots. For patients who suffer from allergies for more than just a few months of the year, or whose allergies are severe enough to cut deeply into their enjoyment of life, allergy immunotherapy makes the most sense. It can take several months for the shots to start desensitizing the body, but the results are long-lasting. Once the body becomes desensitized to trigger allergens, it can stop reacting to them once and for all instead of depending on pills to get through each new allergy season.
Can I Treat my Patients In-house?
If a patient opts for allergy immunotherapy, you can refer them to an allergist, but then you lose continuity of care. And patients can end up driving across town a couple times a week for allergy shots, which can eat up their time. Another option is to treat your patients in-house with a turnkey allergy treatment program.
You can order a program that comes complete with an allergy test kit for easy administration of allergy skin testing. You can then prescribe sublingual immunotherapy, an alternative to allergy shots, that doesn’t require patients to get injections under direct medical supervision. Sublingual immunotherapy allergy drops are comparable to allergy shots, but they are safer and can be administered at home with a few drops under the tongue once per day. The drops absorb into the bloodstream through special cells in the mouth, facilitating desensitization to common allergens.
A turnkey allergy treatment program is simple to incorporate and administer, with minimal time and staff requirements. Many physicians find it to be a high-demand ancillary service that makes for happy patients and also markedly increases the profits of their medical practice.
A Medscape Business Magazine study shows that greater than 65 percent of patients would rather receive allergy treatment from their primary care doctor than from an outside allergist. If you’re looking to help your patients while helping your bottom line, an allergy treatment program may be a smart addition for your medical practice.