Allergy Shots Part 2: What Types Of Allergies Have They Been Proven To Effectively Treat?

May 26, 2010

There have been many studies evaluating the effectiveness of allergen immunotherapy or allergy shots.   The most rigorous scientific studies are those that are placebo-controlled and double-blinded.  A placebo-controlled allergy shot study is a study where some patients receive actual allergy shots and some receive injections of saline placebo.  A double-blinded, placebo-controlled allergy shot study is a study that is placebo-controlled and neither the patient nor the physician knows who is getting the allergy shot and who is getting the saline placebo.

Double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies have proven that allergy shots improve the quality of life, reduce symptoms and reduce the need for medications in children and adults with the following allergic conditions:

1. Nasal and ocular allergies (Allergic Rhinitis and Allergic Conjunctivitis)

2. Allergy-related asthma

3. Bee sting allergy:  All people who have experienced life threatening reactions to bee stings should be on allergy shots to help prevent these reactions in the future.

Allergy shots have been proven to work for grass pollen allergy, tree pollen allergy, weed pollen allergy,  mold spore allergy, allergy to animals such as cats and dogs, cockroach allergy and dust mite allergy.

Other benefits of allergy shots:

1. About 1/3 of patients with allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies) eventually develop asthma.  Allergy shots can decrease the risk of developing asthma for someone who only has nasal allergies.

2. Someone with an allergy to one allergen, such as dust mite, is at an increased risk of developing an allergy to another allergen, such as tree pollen.     Allergy shots for one allergen can prevent a person from becoming allergic to other potential allergens.

3. Allergy shots can be effective for atopic dermatitis or eczema that is associated with allergy to aeroallergens such as dust mites or pollens. 

4. Some studies have shown that allergy shots might help with the oral allergy syndrome.  (see Tree Pollen Allergy and Foods: The Oral Allergy Syndrome; 4/9/10)

Allergy shots are NOT effective for food allergy and should not be used for hives or angioedema.

Note: The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant as specific medical advice for a specific person.   If you have a medical problem, please contact your doctor.


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