Allergy Immunotherapy and Injection Therapy


Printable Version Allergen Immunotherapy Brochure

Printable Version Allergen Injection Therapy Instructions

Answering Your Questions About Allergen Immunotherapy

WHY?
When you are unable to avoid exposure to allergens which cause your problems, or when allergy medications fail to control symptoms or cause side effects, allergy injections are recommended.

HOW DO THEY WORK?
Instead of just relieving symptoms like medications do, immunotherapy causes your body to build protective antibodies much as do tetanus or flu injections.  Eventually your body may produce enough protection to block allergic reactions to the substances that trigger your reactions.

HOW OFTEN?
Since allergy injections contain the identical material causing your symptoms, the dose starts with dilute material and builds gradually to your maintenance dose.  At that time your doctor will assess your progress to determine how often you will need injections thereafter.  If you are doing well, the frequency is decreased to every two weeks and gradually to every three weeks.  The general length of treatment is about three to four years.

HOW SOON WILL YOU SEE RELIEF?
Often patients state they have moderate relief from symptoms as early as three to four months.  In the meantime, you may take medications to help control symptoms.

HOW DO YOU ARRANGE FOR AN INJECTION?
Call the office to schedule your injections.  We will give you a list of our injection hours.  Weekly you can schedule a time for the next injection.  If you are unable to schedule in advance, please call on the day of your injection so we can have your chart and antigen ready and you will not be delayed.  When you arrive at the office, please print your name clearly on the sign-in sheet.  The nurse will call your name and administer your injection.  You must remain in the office 20 following your injection in case a reaction to the injection occurs.  The nurse will check your arm before you leave.

WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT FOLLOWING AN INJECTION?
Since you are being treated with substances to which you are allergic, there is always a possibility that you may react.  You might experience a local reaction in which your arm becomes swollen, warm and itchy at the site of infection.
If this occurs and becomes uncomfortable later, you may apply ice and take an antihistamine.  If you have a local reaction the size of a quarter, or lasting longer than a few hours, be sure to inform the nurse before your next injection so the dose can be adjusted accordingly.  On rare occasions generalized itching, increased allergy symptoms and/or chest tightness may occur.  If this should happen, call the office for advice or, if necessary, return to the office immediately or the nearest medical facility for treatment.

WHAT IS THE COST OF IMMUNOTHERAPY?
The fee for allergy injections is a per visit fee regardless of the number of injections administered.  This fee includes the professional and clerical services rendered in connection with the administration of allergy injections as well as the equipment used and proper handling and disposal of medical waste generated.  (The Federal & State Governments mandate records to be maintained and specific disposal procedures to be followed for all medical waste.)
The fees of vaccines include the purchasing and processing of the antigens used in your allergy injections.  Processing costs include vials and diluent to prepare the various concentrations of antigens and the refrigerated storage of these items.  Furthermore, diluted antigens are only stable for six months, requiring us to routinely prepare fresh vials to insure the most effective and accurate dosages of antigens for you.  Antigens are billed each time the patient receives an injection.
If we participate with your insurance plan, these charges will be submitted directly to your carrier.  Any patient responsibility will be balance billed.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Please inform the nurse of all medications you are taking, especially blood pressure medication and eye drops.  As your immunotherapy treatment continues, always advise the nurse of any new medications you are taking.

  1. Notify nurse if arm swelling, redness or increased allergic symptoms followed your last allergy injection.
  2. If you have cold symptoms or increased allergy symptoms such as hives, wheezing, cough or increased nasal congestion, notify the office.  We usually do not give injections in these situations.
  3. Avoid strenuous exercise one hour before and one hour after an injection.
  4. Avoid such activities as mowing grass or working areas where there would be increased exposure to pollens.
  5. Weekly visits for about 7 months.  After 7 months your appointments will be every 4 weeks for 5 years.
  6. Patient needs to stay in the office for 20 minutes after each injection so the nurse can monitor any reactions.
  7. Try to keep your scheduled appointment time.
  8. You can continue to take your allergy medications if needed while you are getting allergy injections.

Do not come for an allergy injection if you are feeling ill.  If necessary call the office for an appointment with the doctor.