Allergy immunotherapy, often referred to as “allergy shots,” are injections given on a regular basis with the goal of decreasing sensitivity to a specific, allergy-producing substance. Allergy shots are most effective for pollen, dust, pet dander, mold and bee/wasp sting allergies. Because allergy shots can help decrease symptoms, the benefits can last far beyond when the treatment has stopped. For some people, this benefit can last the rest of their life. This can potentially be a medically beneficial and cost effective form of treatment.
Treatment starts in small doses given to the patient frequently. A patient can expect to get an allergy shot 1 or 2 times a week for several months until he/she reaches a maintenance dose. At that point, the patient can expect to get a shot every 2 weeks. Once the patient and doctor see a clinical change, then the time can be increased to once a month. The entire treatment can last 5 years. If there is no improvement after a year, then it is important to discuss with the doctor to investigate further options.