Low Dose Immunotherapy

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The immune system can develop a hypersensitivity response to a pathogen, internally or externally, a similar inappropriate immune response to pollen or grasses in allergies. The immune system can be retrained or desensitized, so it does not produce an exaggerated response to low levels of a harmless antigen. At Valley Integrative Medicine, functional medical doctor Alicia Hollis, DO and physician assistant Sarah Swengel can help many patients struggling with immune system sensitivity by performing low dose immunotherapy treatment, which can often improve a patient’s quality of life. 

What is Low Dose Immunotherapy?

Low dose immunotherapy, also referred to as LDI, is a treatment that uses very small doses of potential antigens such as food, bacterial, viral, fungal, or chemical antigens to modulate an immune response. With regularly scheduled intervals of this small exposure, the immune system is better able to tolerate normal exposures to these items. 

Who is a Candidate for Low Dose Immunotherapy? 

Individuals who may benefit from low dose immunotherapy and are often determined to be ideal candidates for this treatment include those with: 

  • Food allergies 
  • Food sensitivities 
  • Environmental allergies or sensitivities 
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome 
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Hashimoto’s  
  • Crohn’s Diseases or Ulcerative Colitis 
  • Lupus 
  • Lyme or tick-borne illness 
  • Interstitial Cystitis (Recurrent UTIs) 
  • Chronic yeast or candida infections 
  • Mast Cell Activation Syndrome 
  • Eczema 
  • Psoriasis 
  • Acne 
  • EBV 
  • Mold illness 
  • Parasites 
  • Leaky gut 
  • Alpha gal syndrome 
  • Recurrent upper respiratory infections 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Chronic herpes outbreaks 

How Does Low Dose Immunotherapy Work? 

We will determine which antigen or antigen mixture could be contributing to your symptoms or disease. Doses are then administered as drops under the tongue at a concentration and interval customized for each patient. The immune system responds to the drops and learns to tolerate the exposure. 

Your symptom improvement is used as a guide to adjust treatment. The frequency of LDI administration reduces as the strength of the dose is increased and symptoms improve for more extended periods until you need only one or two treatments per year. 

What Are Potential Side Effects of Low Dose Immunotherapy? 

The dose of immunotherapy is so low that, in the realm of extreme dilution, it causes essentially no major ill effects. LDI doses themselves are not going to directly affect your symptoms unless you are actively being exposed to one of your allergens the day you take the dose. If a dose makes your symptoms worse, we will adjust the dosing as needed. The most common side effect is having a flare-up of your current symptom. 

Is Low Dose Immunotherapy Different Than an Allergy Shot?

LDI provides exposure to a low level of multiple allergens via drops under the tongue, whereas allergy shots expose you to a higher dose of one allergen that you reacted to via an injection. This decreases the likelihood of cross reactivity to similar antigens as well as significantly reducing the risk of anaphylaxis. 

To learn more about low dose immunotherapy or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office today. 

Call 540.556.1061 to Schedule an Appointment

Feel free to contact the clinic to schedule an appointment or for additional information.