In the 1920s, the first successful trials of sublingual immunotherapy were completed. (Sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT desensitizes the body to allergens in the environment through liquid drops or tablets that are placed under the tongue and absorb into the bloodstream through special cells in the mouth).
In the 1980s, more successful trials were conducted as researchers sought more earnestly for a viable alternative to allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy). Continuing sublingual immunotherapy research showed that SLIT was effective and easy to comply with. It also showed that it was safer than allergy shots—so safe, in fact, that it could be taken at home rather than under physician supervision. And finally, the trials showed SLIT to be a particularly good option for patients who were not good candidates for shot therapy—including young children.
By the late-1980s, sublingual immunotherapy research had demonstrated a strong enough safety and efficacy profile that SLIT began to be used worldwide. Today, there are more than 60 controlled clinical trials establishing the safety and effectiveness of SLIT. It has also been recognized by many international agencies and guidelines:
1998, World Allergy Organization (part of the World Health Organization or WHO), called SLIT a “viable alternative to parenteral injection therapy.”
ARIA guidelines (Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma)
- 2001, affirmed the use of SLIT for children
- 2008, affirmed that SLIT was safer than SCIT (subcutaneous immunotherapy or allergy shots)
- 2010, confirmed the efficacy of SLIT for adults and children in reducing the effects of allergy rhinitis
Click here to read more about sublingual immunotherapy research.