Allergen immunotherapy (also known as “allergy shots”) is the repeated administration of specific allergens to the patient with allergy-related conditions (such as Allergic Rhinitis, hay fever and asthma) for the purpose of providing protection against their allergic symptoms and inflammatory reactions with exposure to these allergens.
Conditions for which allergy shots have been shown to be effective:
Allergic Rhinitis-also known for hay fever, patients with this condition often suffer severe nasal (and possible eye and throat) reactions when exposed to pollens or other air borne allergens to which they are sensitive.
Asthma-well-designed clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of allergen immunotherapy in patients with pollen-induced and mold-induced asthma.
We test for 58 most common allergens in this region, trees, weeds, grasses, molds, cats and dogs. Patients can not be allergy tested without being seen by a provider first. Testing takes approximately 1-1½ hours. Testing is performed on both arms, so patients will need to wear short sleeves. All patients must be off all antihistamines (Zrytec, Claritin, Allegra, Zantac, and Tagamet) 7-10 days prior to testing. Patients taking beta-blockers can not be allergy tested or take allergy injections. However, they may speak with their PCP about taking a different type of medication in the place of a beta-blocker.
There are two types of immunotherapy: traditional and cluster therapy.
Traditional Therapy: patients will come into the office one to two times a week (MUST skip a day between injections) and receive their injections. The build up to maintenance dose using this method takes an estimated time of 8 to 15 months depending on the frequency the patient gets their injections. The earliest relief from immunotherapy is usually not felt until the patient starts getting into their higher level doses. This type of immunotherapy is covered in varying degrees with almost all insurances.
Cluster Therapy: it is required that patients be able to dedicate approximately 4 hours once a week in the clinic every 5-10 days for three to five sessions. On these days patients will receive multiple injections (spaced 30 minutes apart), and be required to wait in the clinic for at least 2 hours after their last injection. This will take the patient to the beginning of their strongest vial. At that point the patient can get their injections once or twice a week until they reach maintenance dose. This method can put the patient at maintenance dose in 8-10 weeks. It is covered by most health insurance companies. It is required that the patient take an antihistamine at least 2 hours before each session. This form of therapy has proven to be as safe as the traditional build-up.
ALL allergy patients receiving injections are required to carry an Epipen with them at all times, patients will be given a prescription for this at their first injection appointment. Any patient that refuses the Epipen will be required to sign a waiver form.
Patients with insurance:
Most insurance will cover all testing and injections. Patients filing insurance will need to keep in mind of their deductibles and co-pays. Patients can call their insurance and ask about allergy testing coverage.
Patients without insurance:
Allergy testing $150.00
Allergy Extract (the medication) $350.00 for build up vials -- $350.00 for maintenance vials
Injections $14.00 per visit
Epipen Prices vary and will be discussed during initial visit.
Please note that this is ONLY estimated prices.
The build up vials and maintenance vials are paid at separate times.