Got allergies? Getting treatment can be complicated. First you can visit your primary care provider who may prescribe medications like antihistamines to curb your symptoms. If they are ineffective, or if your allergies are long-lasting enough that you find yourself popping pills for longer than you want to, you might consider allergy immunotherapy (commonly known as allergy shots).
If your doctor concurs that you are a candidate for allergy immunotherapy, he or she may refer you out to an allergist. You can then find an allergist (typically one within your insurance network) and schedule a consultation. The allergist will likely want to get your medical history and schedule a subsequent visit for allergy testing. If you test positive for allergies, your allergist can then prescribe allergy immunotherapy, either through subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots) or sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops).
That’s quite an odyssey to start allergy treatment, but there may be a more efficient path for you. A number of primary care physicians are now testing and treating their patients for allergies rather than referring them out for treatment and losing continuity of care. According to Medscape Business Magazine, two thirds of allergy sufferers would prefer to get treatment from their family care doctor than from an allergist.
Primary care physicians can order a turnkey allergy test program. The allergy test kit for physicians allows doctors to test for allergies simply and accurately using intradermal testing. This method of testing uses a multi-pronged device to deposit a small amount of antigen under the top layers of skin. The test can be performed in less than a half hour, and pain is minimal. If allergy is present, red dots or wheals will form on the surface of the skin.
Based on the test results, your physician can then prescribe sublingual immunotherapy drops from a compounding pharmacy. The drops work much like shots in that they desensitize the immune system to allergens so patients can tolerate molds, pollens, pet dander, and dust without having an allergic reaction. Instead of being injected into the skin, though, the drops are dispensed under the tongue where they can absorb into the bloodstream through special cells in the mouth.
Since the drops are safer than shots, they can be taken at home. (Allergy shots have to be administered at the doctor’s office.) Many physicians believe that the drops work faster than shots since they can be taken daily (rather than every few days like shots).
Patients win because they can remain under the care of their primary care physician who knows their background and medical history. They also get no-hassle, no-shots allergy drop treatment that has been shown to work as well as allergy shots (but with fewer risks).
Primary care physicians win because they can maintain continuity of care, expand their services, increase medical practice profits, and help their allergic patients feel better once and for all.
The program works for food allergies, too. Physicians need to order a food allergy test kit if they want to test for both food and environmental allergens. After ordering their turnkey allergy treatment program, doctors can begin to prescribe allergy drops to suit patients’ individual allergy needs.