Can Immunotherapy Eliminate Your Allergies? We Asked The Experts
Allergies are the pits. Whether triggered by pollen or your BFF's cat, allergy symptoms can make it hard to function, and medications like antihistamines and nasal steroids only offer temporary relief. Immunotherapy allergy shots, on the other hand, provide a long-term solution to allergies—but they require weekly visits to the doctor's office, and who has that kind of time? That's why we were intrigued to learn about Curex, a brand-new telehealth brand offering a sublingual form of immunotherapy, delivered straight to your door.
With Curex, you no longer have to leave your home for treatment or clinical care. As a part of your plan, you get unlimited telehealth visits with your clinician to ensure your symptoms are being properly managed throughout the duration of treatment. To get the full scoop on allergies, immunotherapy, and how Curex is changing the game, we chatted with allergists and immunotherapy experts Chet Tharpe, M.D., and Neeta Ogden, M.D.
mbg: How does immunotherapy work?
Dr. Neeta: Immunotherapy works by exposing the body to doses of small, medical-grade allergen extracts that are increased over time. This trains your immune system to no longer be reactive to those allergens. Sublingual immunotherapy, which is the form that Curex offers, is administered under the tongue once daily and it makes treatment so much more efficient.
mbg: What is the difference between allergy shots and allergy drops?
Dr. Neeta: Allergy shots—aka subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT)—have been around for over 100 years. Sublingual drops and tablets (SLIT) were created in the mid-'80s but have recently been increasing in adoption. The biggest difference between subcutaneous and sublingual treatment is convenience. The drops can be taken at home, but the shots require you to actually go to your provider's office weekly. The shots are more invasive, so there's a higher risk of side effects, like anaphylaxis, whereas the drops are much safer. It's unlikely to experience serious side effects from drops.
mbg: If sublingual treatment is effective and convenient, then why aren't more people using it?
Dr. Neeta: Sublingual immunotherapy is a first-line allergy treatment throughout Europe, with nearly 90% of immunotherapy patients in France utilizing the drops over the shots. However, sublingual treatment did not gain traction in the U.S. until recently, with the FDA approval of sublingual tablets and increasing clinical data surrounding efficacy and safety. Curex is the first company to introduce this form of sublingual immunotherapy on a national scale via telemedicine, and it's currently the fastest-growing trend in allergy care.
mbg: How do I know if I'm a good candidate for sublingual immunotherapy?
Dr. Chet: Most of our patients suffer from seasonal pollen allergies and indoor allergies, such as dust mites. Sublingual immunotherapy is also extremely effective for cat allergies. It has been very effective for dogs as well, but it's rather breed-specific. Most people with symptoms of rhinitis, asthma, or eczema caused by these allergens experience a significant reduction in symptoms.
Food allergies, on the other hand, must be treated in person because there is a higher chance of serious allergic reaction. For life-threatening food allergies, it's imperative that you be observed by a clinician during treatment, but Curex hopes to branch into the non-life-threatening food allergies at some point. If you have a venom allergy, I also recommend you opt for the shots.
mbg: Is immunotherapy treatment natural and/or homeopathic?
Dr. Chet: Allergy drops are natural but are not homeopathic. They do share one similar principle of homeopathy in that they expose your body to what ails you (i.e., your allergies) in order to improve your well-being by decreasing your body's allergic state. That being said, allergy drops prescribed by Curex's clinicians greatly differ from homeopathy in that they are much more potent.
Homeopaths believe that the lower the dose, the more powerful the treatment. As allergists, we believe that a much more potent formulation of allergens that your body can tolerate (i.e., leads to minimal side effects and symptoms) is much more effective in increasing one's tolerance to allergies, thus decreasing their body's reactivity and symptoms.
mbg: Aside from the annoying symptoms, are there any other health-related reasons why I should consider immunotherapy for my allergies?
Dr. Chet: Uncontrolled allergies can greatly impair one's well-being in several ways. Sleep is commonly impaired with resultant fatigue, inattention, poor concentration, and low productivity. In kids and teens, allergies have been associated with ADHD, lower test scores/academic performance, impaired athletic performance, and lower self-esteem. In adults, allergies have been associated with anxiety and depression, lower work productivity, and even impaired sexual performance.
Bye-bye puffy eyes.
If your allergies are preventing you from living your life, it might be time to take action. If you don't have a diagnosis yet, Curex makes it easy. After taking a free quiz to gather medical history and select a payment plan, a professional phlebotomist is sent to your home to administer an allergy test that utilizes cutting-edge, hospital-grade technology. After that, you're paired with a clinician to review your results via Zoom and put together a treatment plan.
Not only is Curex the largest online allergy and asthma clinic with over 50,000 users across every state in the U.S., but they also have the highest patient loyalty and satisfaction rates in the industry. Their sublingual immunotherapy program gives you the power and the flexibility to tackle your allergies once and for all. Who knows, maybe you can finally get that dog you've always wanted…
Ryan Brady is a Content Freelancer at mindbodygreen. She received her B.A. in Visual Arts from Yale University and is currently finishing her M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology, with concentration in Spirituality and Mind-Body Practice, at Columbia University.
Ryan is passionate about holistic health, fitness, and spiritually-centered living. She loves using her knowledge and personal experience to help others improve their well-being. When she’s not working or studying, Ryan can be found traveling to new places, snuggling her dog, or experimenting with gluten free, vegan baking.