Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a safe process by which you and your allergist can work together to train your immune system to be more tolerant of your allergens. SLIT treatment engages special, tolerance-promoting immune cells underneath the tongue (the “sublingual” space) to influence and train the immune system to be more tolerant of allergens. These special cells, called oral Langerhans cells, are uniquely primed to suggest tolerance of substances they encounter, rather than an attack, presumably because they are the initial immune-system contact for our body’s vital nourishment substances – food and water. If these cells were primed to promote attack signals instead, we would not be able to survive. Therefore, the sublingual (under the tongue) method of immunotherapy harnesses the natural purpose of this very special type of tolerance-promoting cell in order to attempt to train or retrain your immune system to better tolerate harmless substances (allergens).

Oral Langerhans cells are a type of “messenger” immune cells found in the mouth. When engaged by substances they encounter, these oral Langerhans cells travel to the “decision-making” parts of the immune system (T and B cells) to share what they have encountered and suggest that the appropriate response is to choose tolerance rather than an attack. When a controlled, non-threatening amount of allergen is placed in the sublingual area of the mouth frequently and consistently (such as with long-term SLIT treatment), this creates a persistent tolerance-promoting signal to your immune system that can train (early in life) or retrain your immune system to respond more favorably towards allergen over time.

There are 2 forms of SLIT treatment available – liquid antigen (drops) and tablets. The SLIT tablets available currently each contain only one dose of one environmental allergen. This can be inconvenient and very expensive for those with multiple allergies, as well as too strong for some people, leading to significant side effects. Additionally, many environmental allergens are not available in tablet form, and no food allergens are available in tablet form.

The liquid antigen form – sometimes called “SLIT allergy drops” – is much more flexible, can treat for one or multiple allergens at once, can be adjusted to an extremely large spectrum of doses to fit your specific needs over time and increase its safety, and can be used for both environmental and food allergens. Liquid SLIT offers more individualized and comprehensive treatment than any other form of immunotherapy, which is a major reason we have chosen to use it as the primary form of immunotherapy at Allergenuity Health. This type of comprehensive SLIT treatment is best performed by an allergist with experience in formulating sublingual immunotherapy specifically, and at Allergenuity health, your SLIT treatment will be designed and managed entirely by Dr. Schroeder.