Allergy shots are a series of weekly injections that are administered to patients for a three- to five-year period. Shots are tapered off during the final one or two years. These injections cause your body to make blocking antibodies, stopping the allergic reaction from taking place. Patients taking injections must wait 20 minutes to monitor for any adverse reaction. Most insurance companies cover injections, though co-pays apply to each office visit.
As nasal allergy experts, we have been treating patients with allergy shots for over 20 years. Allergy shots can be quite effective, as long as you can commit to a weekly 30-minute office visit, every week, for around four years. As you can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult commitment. Studies looking at the likelihood of making it through a four-year allergy shots program range from 20-45 percent. This means that over half of people starting an allergy shots program won’t successfully complete the program. When allergy shots were the only good long-term solution for allergies, this was a reasonable option.
Now that allergy drops (daily drops placed under the tongue that are done at home and require only yearly office visits) have been shown to be just as effective as shots, as a long-term solution to allergies, with a 90 percent completion rate, almost all of our shots patients have switched to drops.