Reviewed by Henry Milgrom, MD


Learn answers to frequently asked questions about allergy medications.


Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)

Question: If you have allergies to oak, grass, weeds, mold, etc. would you recommend taking Claritin all year? This is what has been recommended to me and I wanted your thought on this.

Answer: Allergy shots (immunotherapy) are an alternative to antihistamine therapy in patients with multiple allergies and nasal symptoms (rhinitis). Otherwise, use of antihistamines - like Claritin - and nasal steroids may be required for both year round and seasonal nasal symptoms.


Question: I am extremely allergic to grass, tree, weed pollen, mold, dust mites, dogs and cats. I avoid the latter animals, but this season is so intense with pollen that nothing I take lasts for more than 4 or 5 hours. I can't even go outside of my house without a mask, which doesn't help much, and within minutes my eyes, nose and asthma kick in. I've tried taking lots of different antihistamines in high doses, but they tend to make me very drowsy. Also, I don't like having to take so much medicine all of the time. Any ideas?

Answer: Allergy shots (immunotherapy) may help with such numerous and severe allergies. It may help you avoid some of the side effects that you describe from the medicines.


Question: I am 30 years old and have been suffering from allergies for 10 years. All the medicines I have tried over the years have failed to control it. Are there any alternatives?

Answer: Besides medication, hay fever and nasal symptoms can also be effectively treated with allergy shots (allergy immunotherapy). This kind of treatment is very often effective and it initially requires weekly shots followed by a shot given monthly. However, this mode of treatment is the only one available that potentially could cure allergies.


Question: I am considering allergy shots for my daughter and was wondering if this will lead to her taking less medicine (Advair, Clarinex, Flonase, Singular).

Answer: If the allergy shots are used properly, use of less asthma medicines should be a result. This works especially well in children and young adults.


Question: Are allergy shots (immunotherapy) relatively safe? This is one of the reasons I have held off giving them to my daughter, who is 14. Her doctor has recommended them but the anaphylactic risk scares me.

Answer: There is some risk to allergy shots when done with proper dosing of allergens. These risks are minimized by proper observation after injections (in the doctor's office). If this type of treatment is indicated for a 14 year old, adolescents usually respond well.


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