(Desensitization; Hyposensitization; Immunotherapy)
Type of Medication
Allergy shots are injections given just under the skin to help decrease allergic reactions.
What Allergy Shots Are Most Frequently Prescribed For
Evidence shows that both allergy shots and sublingual (under the tongue) therapy help reduce symptoms of allergies. Shots are most often prescribed for:
Allergy shots do not work on all allergies or on all people with allergies. For example, they are not used to treat food allergies .
Allergy shots should be considered for patients with severe symptoms that are difficult to control with medicines and when other forms of treatment have failed.
How Allergy Shots Work
Allergy shots decrease your sensitivity to allergens by exposing you to increasingly larger doses of the allergens to which you are allergic. An allergen is a substance that can produce an allergic, or hypersensitive response, often called an allergy attack. Pollen, dust mites, and mold spores are common allergens.
First, your doctor will use skin or blood tests to determine what you are allergic to. Then, a shot is made from small amounts of these specific allergens. With repeated shots, your body becomes less sensitive to these allergens, causing you to have a less severe allergic reaction or none at all.
It can take as long as 12 months of regular shots before you notice relief of your allergy symptoms.