Allergy Therapy

Allergy desensitisation therapy

Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts or is hypersensitive to a normally harmless substance. This triggers symptoms such as inflammation, swelling and/or irritation. Any substance that can trigger this kind of allergic reaction is known as an allergen.

What is allergy desensitisation therapy?

Desensitisation therapy works by exposing a person regularly to a small amount of the allergen responsible. In doing this, the immune system becomes progressively less sensitive to the allergen. It will increase your tolerance to the allergen in the environment and help re-educate your immune system and reduce your symptoms.

Te Atatu Health offers desensitisation therapy for two common allergies: House Dust Mites and Grass Pollens

The therapy consists of one tablet taken under the tongue daily. The frequency and duration of the treatment depends on the allergen. You can take both desensitisation therapies simultaneously, as long as you take the tablets 15 minutes apart.

When should I consider starting on desensitisation therapy?

If you already have taken steps to minimise the allergens in your environment, but you are still experiencing symptoms

If you want to reduce the amount of allergy medication you need

If your allergies trigger asthma, eczema, nose or eye symptoms.

How do I get started?

Schedule an appointment with the doctor who will ask you questions about your allergies to determine which allergen is the most likely cause of your symptoms. Your doctor will then organise a free skin prick allergy test to confirm which desensitisation therapy will work best.

The first tablet is taken at the clinic, under supervision with your doctor. This is to keep you safe, in the unlikely event that an adverse reaction occurs. You then take one tablet daily and one month later a follow-up appointment. After that visits are recommended every 3-6 months.

How soon will I see results?

Most people start to see improvement in 2-4 months of treatment. However, some people don’t notice changes for considerably longer than this.

How long do I have to take it?

For house dust mite desensitisation therapy, the tablets must be taken daily for 3-5 years to be effective and for it to remain effective long term.

For grass pollen desensitisation therapy, the tablets are taken daily for 6-8 months a year during the pollen season, for 3-5 years.  Treatment usually starts between June and August.

What does it cost?

It costs around $1200 per year for dust mite desensitisation therapy, and $690-$850 per year for grass pollen desensitisation therapy.

This price excludes doctor/nurse consultation fees.

Does health insurance cover this?

Most insurers cover GP initiation of allergy desensitisation therapy.  Contact your insurer first to check your particular policy.

Concerns or queries? Contact us.