At least 20 percent of Americans have some type of allergy, and many would benefit from allergy immunotherapy. If you are a primary care physician, you have most likely tried treating your allergic and asthmatic patients with antihistamines, steroids, and other medications.
For some patients, this may be enough to get them through allergy season, but others clearly need more. A good rule of thumb for determining whether or not patients need allergy treatment is to examine both the duration and severity of their allergies. Patients may be candidates for allergy immunotherapy if:
- Their allergy symptoms span more than just a few months of the year.
- Their allergy symptoms are serious enough to significantly detract from their
quality of life.
Though medication can be helpful for these patients, it is only a temporary solution. Stop the medications and the symptoms return. Patients whose lives are substantially affected by allergies need the long-term help of allergy immunotherapy.
The problem with referring a patient out for allergy immunotherapy is that you lose continuity of care. In addition, studies show that patients prefer to receive treatment from their primary care physician rather than an unfamiliar specialist. According to Medscape Business Magazine, “Providing immunotherapy to patients with allergies is a potentially enormous field for PCPs who traditionally have not done this work… two thirds of allergy sufferers would rather get treatment from a PCP than from an allergist.”
Primary care physicians can now offer their patients the benefits of allergy immunotherapy rather than referring them out for treatment. Through a turnkey allergy treatment program, family physicians and pediatricians can test and treat their patients in-office.
Programs such as AllergyEasy help physicians order allergy test kits that are easy to learn and administer. A nurse or medical technician can test a new patient in less than 30 minutes. Physicians can then prescribe allergy immunotherapy through sublingual allergy drops.
Drops work just like shots only the “allergy serum” is dispensed under the tongue and absorbed into the bloodstream through cells in the mouth. (With shots, the serum is injected into the top layers of skin and carried into the bloodstream.)
Since drops are safer than shots, they can be taken at home rather than at the doctor’s office. That means fewer time requirements for staff.
Medical technicians can order wholesale allergen extracts and mix the allergy drops in-office through a simple process, or physicians can prescribe sublingual immunotherapy drops through a compounding pharmacy to be shipped directly to patients.
As the allergy epidemic increases, primary care physicians will likely be seeing an increasing number of allergy patients. Rather than prescribing less-than-effective allergy medications or sending your patients out to a specialist, why not treat them in-office? You can increase your medical practice profits and help your patients regain their quality of life long term.