little girl blowing nose

A New Approach to Treating Allergies


By: Dr. Jake Psenka, ND

Are you looking for a way to permanently get rid or of your seasonal allergies?  In the past the only medical solution for allergy desensitization included visits to an allergist’s office and receiving a series of painful shots every two weeks.  After a year or two of these shots it was possible to “train” your body to stop reacting to the allergic substances in your environment.  Aside from being both painful and costly, this approach did help a great many people.

Allergy shots may soon become a thing of the past..  A new treatment called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is rapidly becoming the preferred way to eliminate allergies.  This new treatment utilizes the blood vessels underneath the tongue as a way to introduce minute dosages of allergy-causing substances into the body, instead of using allergy shots.  These small dosages gradually “re-train” the body’s immune system to stop viewing the allergic substances as a problem, and  to begin seeing them as a normal part of the environment.  SLIT works via the same general principles as allergy shots, except there is less risk of an adverse effect, and there are no shots!

There are several companies preparing sublingual immunotherapy vaccines, but not all make similar products.  Some companies use a “master mix,” which takes all of the potential allergens and puts them together in a single solution.   However, researchers from several sources, including the American Association of Otolaryngic Allergists, have published concerns with this approach.  First, certain types of allergens can cross-react in solution, severely decreasing the potency of the medication.  Second, because master mix solutions contain a large variety of allergic substances, it is likely that there will be some things present in the solution that the person is not allergic to.   These substances may have the ability to work as “sensitizers,” potentially initiating an allergy.

One company, seroSLIT, takes a more personal approach to sublingual immunotherapy.  This company makes customized SLIT vaccines for patients that are based on each patient’s unique allergies.  Determining what a person’s particular allergies are can be done using a simple blood test.  These allergy tests measures a person’s antibodies to specific allergens, which can be used to determine not only what someone is allergic too, but also how severe their allergy may be.  Using these results a physician can then work with seroSLIT to make a custom sublingual allergy vaccine containing only the relevant allergens.

Taking the SLIT vaccine couldn’t be easier.  Simply spray the solution under your tongue, that’s it.  Used correctly these vaccines can help control allergic symptoms in a matter of months, but for best results should be used for a year or two.  After that time your allergies should disappear!  The best part of SLIT- in addition to being painless and working well- is that it is extremely safe, even for children.  For more information about this exciting new therapy visit


About Dr. Psenka:

Dr. Jonathan Psenka is a licensed Naturopathic Physician practicing in Phoenix, Arizona. His practice philosophy is based on a commitment to providing patients with the knowledge they need to be active participants in their own healthcare. He uses a wide variety of holistic therapies and tailors each patient’s treatment to his or her individual needs. Dr. Psenka believes that in order to successfully fight disease it is necessary to address not only the symptoms, but also the potential causes and risk factors as well.

Dr. Psenka’s practice focuses on helping people with diseases such as cancer, viral conditions, and environmental toxicities. In addition to helping people overcome acute illnesses, he also is an advocate of preventative medicine. By identifying and addressing potential risk factors it is possible to reduce the chance of disease development or re-occurrence.

In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Psenka also serves as adjunct faculty at several universities, including Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Kaplan University. He teaches subjects such as anatomy and physiology, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Mind-Body Medicine, and clinical rotations for fourth-year medical students.

Photo by: Time Stands Still, Flickr Creative Commons,

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