Once you’ve been diagnosed with allergies or suspect you have allergies, you’ll likely start researching how to improve. You’ll come across allergy immunotherapy which includes allergy shot and allergy drops.
Five years ago I began my allergy journey after I was diagnosed with a spectrum of environmental allergies. My allergies included dust mites, pollen, mold, yeasts, and animals.
As you’ll discover, there’s a lot of good information out there and there’s a lot of bad information.
Examples of good information are peer-reviewed journals, allergist websites, and associations. Examples of bad information are quick fix creams and medicine that will cure allergies.
Scientific journals can be complex and difficult to read while quick fixes are usually too good to be true.
I’ve created this website to share quality information and provide realistic expectations for other allergy sufferers. I detail my struggles with allergy and share ways I’ve improved.
In this article, I’ll discuss at length why I prefer allergy shots vs allergy drops. Be sure to check out my other articles where I give an allergy shot review and discuss the side effects of allergy shots.
I’ve read recently there’s a tablet approved for pollen allergies that go under the tongue. I haven’t tried it yet but if I do I’ll be sure to share.
My Allergy Background
A few years ago I was diagnosed with allergies. It was a blessing in disguise because I had suffered from allergies for years. I knew something wasn’t right but never realized it could be an allergy.
I constantly felt fatigue, had a chronic stuffy nose, and itchy skin. It seems obvious, right? When you grow up with something you don’t understand how you’re “supposed to feel”. I remember looking at others and wondering why they had so much energy, but I figured they were born with it.
Once I was tested my symptoms began to make sense. I made simple changes to my lifestyle and monitored the dust in my house and the pollen counts outside. I changed my exercise routine and began taking supplements to help with inflammation.
I’ve improved dramatically and I’m sure you can too. But it takes time so patience is key. So is self-awareness to understand how and why your body is reacting.
It also takes a plan. If your allergies, like mine, are serious I recommend visiting a reputable allergist and being tested. Ask many questions and strongly consider allergy shots or allergy drops.
Below I’ll discuss why I prefer allergy shots to allergy drops (you’ll find that most allergists have a similar opinion).
Why I’ve Tried Both Allergy Drops and Allergy Shots
In the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to take both allergy drops and allergy shots. The main reason is that I’ve seen two allergists and they tested and treated me in different ways.
My first allergist was connected to a university. When I arrived at my appointment he asked if I was interested in being part of a study.
Because I wouldn’t be living in the area long term I had to decline. During my appointment, he asked me about my symptoms and my profession.
Based on that information he decided to test me for about 20 things. My reactions were positive for most of the allergens and we discussed how to move forward with treatment.
Because I’d be moving in the next 6 months he decided to treat me using allergy drops. The drops came in a small brown glass bottle with a nozzle to make it easy to put drops under the tongue.
I began with one small bottle and I had a dated form to help me keep track of my schedule. I’d begin with one drop every day, and after 3 weeks I’d be taking two drops, then 3 drops. The concentration of my allergy drops would slowly increase and ideally my body would stop reacting to the allergens.
I took allergy drops for about 1 year, I felt some improvement but not nearly enough. I was still struggling to get through the day and after I moved I began looking for a new allergist close to home.
I made an appointment with a well-reviewed allergist (found on yelp) and made an appointment to be retested and treated. My new allergist tested me for 100 things shared that although the allergy drops likely helped, it wasn’t addressing all the other allergens I hadn’t been tested for.
We decided to go a different route and restart allergy immunotherapy using shots. I’ve been on shots over 4 years and I’ve improved much more than I did with the drops.
I’ve been told that research is still ongoing with allergy drops and allergists have differing opinions over the appropriate concentrations to use. Below, I’ll outline the pros and cons of allergy shots and allergy drops.
Benefits of Allergy Drops
Self administered under the tongue
Can be more expensive than shots (depends)
No regular visits to the clinic for shots
Requires less time than shots (traveling to and from doctors office)
More common in Europe
Negatives of Allergy Drops
Lack Food and Drug Administration approval
Lacks defined and accepted standards
Not all allergists offer drops
Not ideal for many allergens
Takes years to gain all benefit
Can be expensive
Mixed results compared to allergy shots
I’ve outlined the benefits and negatives of allergy drops but I’d like to elaborate. When I used allergy drops they were extremely easy to use. A drop (or multiple) drops per day were placed under the tongue and I went about my day.
Occasionally I would feel a slight tingling of the drop under my tongue or in my throat but it wasn’t a problem. My protocol for taking the drops was to place the drop(s) under my tongue hold for 1 minute and swallow.
This was done without water before and without water after (just for a short period of time). The drops were slightly sweet but otherwise tasteless.
I kept the bottle in my bathroom cupboard and filled out a form with the date each day. I also used the form to write down my reactions if there were any.
When the bottle neared empty, I ordered new vials through my allergist and picked up the bottles the following week.
I like taking allergy drops but I didn’t get the results I wanted. This may be because they weren’t as effective as the shots or because they didn’t include all my allergens (doctor only tested for 20 things).
After one year and minor improvement, I was retested and my new allergist advised to begin shots.
Benefits of Allergy Shots
Food and Drug Administration Approved
Internationally recognized standards and protocol
More control of the administering of shots (directly under skin)
Seem to have more consistent results than allergy drops
Cheaper than allergy drops (in most cases)
Great for many allergies
Should reduce spending on other allergy medicine (steroids and antihistamines)
Related: My Allergy Shot Review
Negatives of Allergy Shots
People fear shots
Time consuming (takes multiple years)
Requires travel if far away from allergist
Requires multiple shots at a time if many allergies
Not 100% (most patients see 70-80% improvement)
At first, I was apprehensive about allergy shots. I didn’t want to be injected over and over, however, I was pleased to try a different approach than the allergy drops. I felt so bad I would try anything.
My first few injections felt much different than the allergy drops. With the drops, I would usually feel warmness or small symptoms immediately after placing them under my tongue and the subtle symptoms would go away after 30-60 minutes.
With allergy shots, my symptoms appeared a few hours after the shot and continued for 2 days. Sometimes there would be slight redness where I received the shot, but my worst symptom was fatigue. The shots would sap my energy, especially on the second day after the shot. I’m not sure what was going on in my body but my immune system must have been working overtime.
On the 3rd day after a shot, I’d feel a burst of energy. At times it felt like I was breaking out from a daze (not sure how to describe it). Within 6 months I felt a big difference in my energy levels and my symptoms significantly decreased.
I liked taking the allergy shots because I could feel them working!
What I didn’t like about taking allergy shots were the time commitment and the travel. It was difficult and much different from the drops. The difference was the results – I’m ok with travel and time as long as I feel better.
You might be curious if I didn’t the like injections but guess what….I got comfortable with the shots after the 3rd or 4th round of shots I realized there wasn’t any pain and I stopped worrying about it.
Advice For Allergy Shots vs Allergy Drops
If you’re considering allergy treatment then allergy shots and allergy drops are great options. Both are natural medicines, meaning they are made up of the dust mites, pollen, pet dander, molds, and yeasts you are allergic to.
Related: Are Allergy Shots Worth It
Allergy shots and allergy drops retrain your immune system to recognize substances as “harmless” rather than an “invader” and the effects of allergy shots and drops often last years. Some people stop receiving treatment after a few years and their symptoms never return, while others need to restart treatment occasionally.
I’ve tried allergy shots and allergy drops. Each had their benefits and negatives and I received more improvement from the allergy shots.
I also appreciated the fact that allergy shots were FDA approved and there were internationally recognized guidelines for treatment. The fact that allergy drops aren’t as well-recognized and not FDA approved means they require further investigation.
Related: Best Mattress Covers for Allergies
Another piece of advice is that not all allergists offer allergy drops. Check in your area and ask about allergy drops. Usually larger medical offices will have an option for drops, however, your allergist may still advise against it.
I’ve heard stories of bad allergists so make sure you find one with a great reputation. If this means traveling a little further then you’ll have to weigh the advantages.
In this article we looked at allergy shots and allergy drops. I shared my experience with both treatments and gave my opinion on why I prefer allergy shots to allergy drops.
Each person is different and has different symptoms and expectations. Your doctor will be prepared to test and evaluate your symptoms. The first step is just being tested to figure out what is causing your allergy symptoms.
Are you allergic to one substance or multiple? Whether it’s one or many will help you and your allergist decide appropriate treatment.
I was allergic to many things and my 2nd allergist highly recommended allergy shots. I’m glad I followed his advice because today I’m feeling pretty good. I feel like I’ve improved 80% and we’re still tweaking my dosage to get more benefit.
We covered the benefits of allergy drops and the benefits of allergy shots.
I like allergy drops because they are convenient and reduce travel to and from the doctor’s office. However, I didn’t get the result I wanted. They also weren’t FDA approved and that concerned me.
I liked allergy shots because they worked great and were FDA approved. At first the injection was intimidating but I adjusted quickly and as I began feeling better I was more than fine with getting shots. I didn’t like the time associated with traveling to the doctor’s office weekly for shots, but I learned to sacrifice my time for health – and I’m glad I did!
I hope you gained insight into allergy shots and allergy drops from reading my experience. Once again, your experience is unique and your symptoms will be different than mine so speak with your allergist about the best way forward. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out more Dust Mite Solutions articles!