RENO, NV - In immunotherapy, a patient gets small doses of the substance to which he is allergic.
The body becomes desensitized and the patient should suffer less when he's exposed to the real thing.
Each patient has his own vile of custom-made allergy triggers.
This one is Dr. Boris Lokshin's. It has, among other things, grass pollen.
“Well, I have typical symptoms really, I have stuffy nose, itchy nose, itchy throat, itchy eyes, congestion, sometimes headaches, depends upon how intense. Sometimes the headache is really bad,” says Dr. Lokshin when describing how grass pollen affects him.
While Lokshin treats about a third of his patients with immunotherapy, a new tool in the box will soon be available.
It comes in a pill form and patients put it under their tongues once a day at home.
“The allergen doesn't pass the stomach. So we are trying to bypass it by using it mostly in the mouth. So you kind of suck on it and dissolve it. It has its own problems too because it gets to itch, its maybe unpleasant. It may cause a reaction,” says Dr. Lokshin.
But Dr. Lokshin says the pill does have its limitations.
It is for patients with grass allergies only, which is not common, he says.
Most allergy patients are allergic to more than one thing which means while the pill might work with grass pollen reaction, a patient may still need immunotherapy for cat or tree allergy.
Right now grass pollen readings are at zero, but Dr. Lokshin predicts the season will begin in about three weeks.