What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy, is a medical intervention that uses the body’s immune response to treat a disease. It can work by either activating or suppressing the immune system’s response, and it is used to treat multiple conditions, including cancer and allergies.


In the context of allergies, immunotherapy works to reduce the body’s sensitivity to an allergen.


Medications such as antihistamines address symptoms alone, whereas immunotherapy gets to the root cause. Immunotherapy treatment for allergies can be administered orally, sublingually, or via an injection.


These shots are given to a patient on a regular basis over a long period of time, slowly working on the body’s immune response to reduce sensitivity.



Build-Up Stage

This stage takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months generally and involves getting the patient safely to the effective dose. Once reached, the process moves into the maintenance stage.


Maintenance Stage

During this stage, the patient takes the effective dose on an ongoing basis. This stage can last for an undesignated amount of time until a patient starts to experience prolonged relief.


Relief From Symptoms

After an initial improvement in symptoms, you may not notice additional improvement for several months. If successful, you should see long-term benefits and a reduction in symptoms.


Immunotherapy Side Effects

As with any medical procedure, immunotherapy for allergies can come with side effects. The primary side effects typically involve experiencing allergy symptoms. In very rare cases, a patient could experience anaphylaxis. There are no known long-term side effects of immunotherapy.

Types of Immunotherapy

Allergy Shots

Sublingual Immunotherapy

Oral Immunotherapy

When It’s Time to Try Immunotherapy

There are several signs you can look for that can help you determine whether the time is right:

  • Allergy medication is no longer effective
  • Side effects from allergy medication is interfering with quality of life
  • Allergy symptoms are making your asthma worse
  • Difficulty avoiding allergens


Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Success Rate of Immunotherapy?

Who Qualifies for Immunotherapy?

How Long Does Immunotherapy Stay in Your System?

Signs Immunotherapy Is Working

Is Immunotherapy Painful?