Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, involves injecting very small amounts of the substances causing the allergic symptoms and, over time, building up to full immunizing doses. They help how your body handles allergens and can be very helpful, and safe.
Allergy shots may be an option if your allergy symptoms are severe, occur for most of the year, if they do not respond well to medicine, and if they happen when you are around hard to avoid allergens, such as pollens or house dust mites.
Conventional immunotherapy procedures consist of once or twice weekly injections of gradually increasing doses. This results in reaching fully effective doses over 3 to 6 months. Once full doses are achieved, maintenance doses are given, usually once a month, for 3 to 5 years.
Rush immunotherapy procedures are designed to reach maintenance much faster than can be achieved with traditional immunotherapy. Patients are premedicated in advance and over 4 hours the doses are increased to about 1/10th of the full maintenance dose. This shaves 4 months off the traditional immunotherapy schedule and allows clinical improvement to occur much faster. Full maintenance usually is reached within two months, and the risk of systemic reactions is similar to traditional immunotherapy.