Allergy Immunotherapy Treatment in Canada

Seasonal allergies are the 5th most common chronic illness in North America [1]. In fact, the prevalence of allergic disease has nearly doubled in the last 20 years alone, and seasonal allergic rhinitis is estimated to affect between 25 and 30% of Canadians [2]. Allergists and Immunologists are in very high demand in Canada, as is an effective allergy treatment. Allergy Immunotherapy is considered the gold standard in allergy treatment.

There are 3 main pillars of treatment in allergy:

  • Environmental Control: limit exposure and control any aspects of the environment that you can. Close the windows during high pollen counts. Remove pets for those with cat or dog allergies. Manage dust and dispose of old carpets and dusty furnishings.
  • Antihistamines, nasal sprays, etc: treat the symptoms with over-the-counter or prescription symptom management medications.
  • Allergy Immunotherapy: treat the underlying allergy causes by modifying the disease, reducing and eventually eliminating the need for symptom management medications or environmental controls. Help patients see a reduction in medication use and costs, and an increased quality of life.

 

Many patients wonder why they should bother with allergy immunotherapy when there are good over-the-counter allergy medications that help manage symptoms. While it is true that allergy symptom managing medications help with nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and sneezing, these medications require chronic use and can lose their effectiveness over time. Symptom management is one part of the issue, but it does not deal with the underlying causes of the allergies, and the ongoing treatment may be costly. Furthermore, these types of treatment can wane in effectiveness over time. As many allergy patients can attest, antihistamines work well for the short term, but long term they typically do nothing to treat the cause, and thus have no curative effect.

Allergy immunotherapy (allergy injections or allergy shots) can change the way our body responds to allergens. Allergy shots deliver a small, tolerable amount of the exact antigen the patient is allergic to, effectively training the body to stop seeing these otherwise harmless allergens as a threat. When allergy immunotherapy is given regularly, allergy symptoms may be alleviated long term. This means a reduction, and sometimes even an elimination, of allergy symptoms, such as runny nose or watery, itchy eyes, a reduction in asthma development, and a reduction in medication use [3]. The allergy team at Edge creates a specific treatment set based entirely on the needs of the patient. We formulate allergy treatment sets that are based on the

[1] Evidence Report/Technology Assessment. Number 67, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, No. 03-E013, Jan 2003.

[2] Schoenwetter WF Economic impact and quality-of-life burden of allergic rhinitis. Curr Med Res Opin 20(3): 305-17, 2004

[3] Schmitt, J, et al: Asthma immunotherapy for AR effectively prevents asthma: Results from a large retrospective cohort. JACI Dec 2015 Vol 136, Issue 6 PP 1511-1516