Specific allergen immunotherapy (SIT) has been used for over a century to treat allergic disorders. Treatment regimes vary, but the general principle is to give a prolonged course of extracts of allergens that are thought to be relevant to the particular patient's illness. Allergen is usually given by subcutaneous injection, starting with a very low dose and escalating in a logarithmic sequence until the top dose is reached. At this stage, the interval between doses is extended, and maintenance therapy is given for about three years. A number of alternative routes have been tried, among which the sublingual route is the most popular.
There are two distinct ways in which SIT could be used to treat asthma. These are first to use SIT to prevent the development of asthma in patients who are sensitized to allergens but do not have asthma, and second to use SIT to treat established asthma.
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If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.