Shopping for Allergy Treatment? Consider Sublingual Immunotherapy

If you’re considering allergy treatment, your first thought might be allergy shots, but don’t commit to treatment until you’ve considered a sublingual immunotherapy clinic as well.


Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a safer, more user-friendly version of allergy shots. As with shots, it starts with a liquid solution containing common allergens (pollen, etc.) That solution is taken as drops under the tongue that absorb into the bloodstream through cells in the mouth. As you take the drops regularly, your body can become desensitized to the allergens that make you miserable.

If you went to Europe, you’d find sublingual immunotherapy clinics in rich supply. After all, more than 45 percent of Europeans get allergy drops rather than allergy shots.

If you go to a sublingual immunotherapy clinic, you can expect to meet with a physician for a brief physical and discussion of your allergy symptoms. Then, the sublingual immunotherapy physician will likely recommend an allergy test. This can be conducted in several ways including:

  • Skin prick test: A solution containing allergens is placed on your skin. You then receive a series of needle pricks that allow the solution to penetrate your skin. If you react positively, you will develop a raised red bump or wheal. (The larger the wheal, the more severe your reaction to the allergen).
  • Intradermal test: This test works like the skin prick test except that the solution is actually injected into the skin.
  • Blood test: Blood is taken and analyzed for antibodies that the body may form in reaction to various allergens.

The sublingual immunotherapy allergist will take into account the results of your health history and your allergy test to determine whether you would benefit from sublingual immunotherapy.

If you are a candidate for SLIT, you will receive allergy drops to be taken (usually) daily under the tongue. Some physicians may also prescribe sublingual allergy medications (in tablet form). Tablets are usually only available for select types of allergens, though, while allergy drops can protect against a broader range of allergens.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.