This article explains treating Asthma with Immunotherapy, what results can you expect from immunotherapy, who needs to undergo immunotherapy, what is the risk with immunotherapy and much more.
What is Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy is one of the ways to treat asthma, which is recommended for all suffering from asthma and allergies, i.e. allergic asthma. Immunotherapy is not a method of treating asthma, such as injecting antibiotics that fight infections. On the contrary, immunotherapy works more like a vaccine.
Immunotherapy is the injection of an allergen (a substance that causes an allergic reaction) in a small dose in the body. Gradually the dose increases. Since constantly your body is attacked by ever-increasing doses of an allergen, in most cases it gets used to it. If the treatment is successful, then the allergic reaction becomes less acute with time.
Immunotherapy will help reduce the symptoms of allergies and prevent further development of asthma. Immunotherapy also helps people who already have asthma (although many doctors are still arguing on this issue). One study showed that immunotherapy is also effective in treating asthma, as are inhaled steroids.
What results can you expect from immunotherapy?
Before starting immunotherapy, the doctor conducts several tests to check for an allergic reaction. Thus, allergens that cause an allergic reaction are detected. First, tests are performed on the skin area. On or under the skin, a small amount of allergen is injected. Allergic injections are not suitable for all types of allergies.
Immunotherapy can be used in cases of allergy to:
- Wool of animals
- Dust Mites
Once it is determined which allergens affect your body, the next step is the injections themselves. The frequency of injections depends on the person. You may need to inject only 1-2 times a week in the first 3-6 months or until the dose is maximum. After this, you may need so-called “maintenance” injections every 2-4 weeks. This can last from 3 to 5 years.
In some, the result of immunotherapy can be seen in a very short time, others may take several years. The third immunotherapy cannot give any results.
Who needs to undergo immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy does not suit everyone. Immunotherapy is not suitable for people with uncontrolled asthma or other health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases. Also not recommended for people taking certain medicines, for example, beta-blockers or ACE inhibitor. In addition, immunotherapy is not used to treat asthma in children under 5 years of age.
Immunotherapy is used to treat asthma in people who:
- Asthma attacks that do not respond to traditional medications
- Allergy, which is a strong causative agent of asthma and irritants which cannot be avoided
- Symptoms continue for a long time
- There is a time and a desire to undergo treatment, which can last for months and years
- There is no possibility or desire to take certain medications such as bronchodilators.
What is the risk with immunotherapy?
Of course, immunotherapy has its risks. The most common side effect is redness and swelling in the place where the allergen was injected.
More serious side effects are extremely rare. Allergic injections can lead even to anaphylactic shock, which can become fatal. That’s why injections are done in the presence of a number of specialists who will be able to control any unwanted reactions. After the injection, the patient should remain under medical supervision for another 30 minutes.