Dr Alex Dragan ND
SLIT: A Simple and Effective Treatment for Hay Fever
Updated: Mar 11
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a common condition that can affect one in four people in North America. The symptoms of hay fever can be severe, including sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion. With the high prevalence of allergies to pollens and other environmental allergens it’s important to understand our treatment options. One of the most effective treatments for seasonal allergies is sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT.
Sublingual immunotherapy is a regular dose of a particular allergen introduced below the tongue daily. This method of treatment allows the full strength of the medicine to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream via a thin membrane that covers your mouth and throat (the mucous membranes). Sublingual immunotherapy can be used to treat: Inhalant allergies to dust, pets, mold, pollen, grass etc.
How Effective is SLIT?
SLIT has been shown to be effective in the treatment of hay fever, particularly for people who have not responded well to other treatments, such as antihistamines or nasal steroids. A systematic review and meta-analysis of 60 studies involving over 5,000 patients found that SLIT was effective in reducing hay fever symptoms and improving quality of life for people with allergic rhinitis¹.
SLIT has also been found to be safe and well-tolerated, with few side effects. One advantage of SLIT is that it can be administered at home, which may be more convenient for patients than going to an allergy clinic for allergy shots. SLIT is by no means a quick fix for hay fever or allergic rhinitis. It can take several months to a year to see significant improvement in symptoms, and in order to maintain the desensitized state of the immune system. However, many people find that the long-term benefits of SLIT are worth the commitment.
Who Can Benefit from SLIT?
SLIT is recommended for people with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis. SLIT can also benefit those with eczema and mild asthma.
SLIT is not recommended for people with severe asthma or other respiratory conditions, as it carries more severe risks for this population. It is also not recommended for people with a history of anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions.
In conclusion, SLIT is a promising approach to the treatment of hay fever that has been shown to be safe and effective. It offers an alternative to allergy injections and may be more convenient for patients who prefer the convenience of at home administration. While it may take several months to see significant improvement in symptoms, SLIT may offer long-term benefits for people with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis.
If you are suffering from hay fever, talk to your ND at Clementine so we can assess if this treatment is right for you. We offer in house allergy testing in order to discover your allergies and treat them accordingly.
1 Dhami, S., Nurmatov, U., Arasi, S., Khan, T., Asaria, M., Zaman, H., Agarwal, A., Netuveli, G., Roberts, G., Pfaar, O., Muraro, A., Ansotegui, I. J., Calderon, M., Cingi, C., Durham, S., van Wijk, R. G., Halken, S., Hamelmann, E., Hellings, P., Jacobsen, L., … Sheikh, A. (2017). Allergen immunotherapy for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Allergy, 72(11), 1597–1631. https://doi.org/10.1111/all.13201