Managing Immunotherapy Fatigue: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

Manoukian, MD, FAAAI, FACAAI
February 25, 2024
July 23, 2024

Living with allergies can be a daunting experience, but for many, immunotherapy offers a beacon of hope. This treatment, particularly sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), has shown remarkable efficacy in reducing allergy symptoms and improving quality of life. However, as with any medical treatment, immunotherapy can come with its own set of challenges. One such challenge is immunotherapy fatigue, a condition that can significantly impact a patient’s adherence to their treatment plan. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the causes, effects, and solutions for managing immunotherapy fatigue, ensuring you stay on track to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Understanding Immunotherapy Fatigue

What is Immunotherapy Fatigue?

Immunotherapy fatigue refers to the physical and mental exhaustion that some patients experience during their allergy treatment. This type of fatigue can be particularly frustrating because it can interfere with daily activities and reduce the overall effectiveness of the treatment. Understanding the underlying causes and how to manage them is crucial for anyone undergoing immunotherapy.

Causes of Immunotherapy Fatigue

1. Immune System Activation

Body’s Response: Immunotherapy works by gradually exposing the body to small amounts of allergens, helping to build tolerance. This process can activate the immune system, leading to temporary fatigue as the body adjusts.

2. Allergic Reactions

Mild Symptoms: During the initial stages of treatment, some patients might experience mild allergic reactions, such as nasal congestion, sneezing, or itching, which can contribute to feeling tired.

3. Psychological Factors

Mental Stress: The commitment to a long-term treatment plan can be mentally taxing. Anxiety about potential reactions or the anticipation of symptoms can also lead to psychological fatigue.

4. Lifestyle Factors

Sleep and Nutrition: Poor sleep quality and inadequate nutrition can exacerbate feelings of fatigue. Patients need to maintain a healthy lifestyle to support their immune system during treatment.

Effects of Immunotherapy Fatigue

Impact on Daily Life

1. Work and School Performance

Reduced Productivity: Fatigue can lead to decreased concentration and productivity, affecting performance at work or school.

2. Social Interactions

Limited Engagement: Individuals may find themselves withdrawing from social activities due to tiredness, impacting their relationships and social life.

3. Overall Quality of Life

General Well-being: Persistent fatigue can affect overall well-being, making it difficult to enjoy daily activities and hobbies.

Treatment Adherence

1. Missed Doses

Skipping Treatment: Fatigue can lead to missed doses of immunotherapy, reducing its overall effectiveness and delaying the achievement of allergy tolerance.

2. Treatment Discontinuation

Stopping Treatment: In severe cases, patients might consider discontinuing treatment altogether, which can result in a return of allergy symptoms and a reduction in quality of life.

Solutions for Managing Immunotherapy Fatigue

Medical Interventions

1. Adjusting Dosage

Consult Your Doctor: If fatigue is severe, discuss with your allergist about adjusting the dosage or frequency of your immunotherapy. A personalized approach can help minimize side effects while maintaining treatment efficacy.

2. Symptom Management

Medication: Your doctor may recommend additional medications to manage allergic reactions and reduce fatigue. Antihistamines and decongestants can help alleviate symptoms that contribute to tiredness.

Lifestyle Modifications

1. Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep Hygiene: Ensure you get adequate sleep by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a restful sleep environment, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine before bedtime.

2. Balanced Nutrition

Dietary Choices: Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support your immune system. Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into your meals.

3. Regular Exercise

Physical Activity: Engage in regular physical activity to boost energy levels and improve overall health. Even moderate exercise, like walking, can help combat fatigue.

Psychological Support

1. Stress Management

Relaxation Techniques: Practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep-breathing exercises to manage anxiety and mental fatigue.

2. Support Groups

Community Support: Joining a support group for individuals undergoing immunotherapy can provide emotional support and practical advice from others who understand your experience.

The Role of HeyAllergy in Managing Immunotherapy Fatigue

Personalized Care Plans

HeyAllergy offers personalized care plans tailored to your unique needs and lifestyle. Our telemedicine platform allows for regular consultations with allergy specialists who can adjust your treatment plan to minimize fatigue and other side effects.

Ongoing Support

Our team is dedicated to providing ongoing support throughout your immunotherapy journey. From answering your questions to providing resources and tips for managing fatigue, we’re here to ensure you achieve the best possible outcomes.

Convenient Appointments

With HeyAllergy, you can book appointments at your convenience, reducing the stress and hassle of traditional in-office visits. Our telemedicine platform makes it easy to stay connected with your healthcare provider from the comfort of your home.


Managing immunotherapy fatigue is crucial for maintaining adherence to your treatment plan and achieving long-term relief from allergies. By understanding the causes and effects of fatigue and implementing practical solutions, you can improve your overall quality of life and treatment outcomes. Remember, HeyAllergy is here to support you every step of the way with personalized care plans, ongoing support, and convenient telemedicine appointments. Don’t let fatigue derail your path to better health—book an appointment with HeyAllergy today and take the first step towards a life free from allergy symptoms.

FAQ: Managing Immunotherapy Fatigue: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

How to manage immunotherapy side effects?

Managing immunotherapy side effects involves several strategies. Stay hydrated, maintain a balanced diet, and get plenty of rest. Over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms like nausea or pain, but always consult your healthcare provider before taking new medications. Additionally, regular follow-ups with your doctor can help monitor and manage side effects effectively.

How long does immunotherapy fatigue last?

Immunotherapy fatigue can vary from person to person. Some may experience fatigue only during the initial stages of treatment, while others may feel tired throughout the duration. Typically, fatigue lessens after the body adjusts to the treatment. Discuss with your doctor if fatigue persists or worsens, as they can provide personalized advice and support.

How to boost the immune system for immunotherapy?

Boosting your immune system during immunotherapy involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eat a nutrient-rich diet, exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, and manage stress. Incorporating foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can also help strengthen your immune system.

How to overcome immunotherapy fatigue?

Overcoming immunotherapy fatigue requires a combination of rest, nutrition, and light physical activity. Prioritize good sleep hygiene, eat balanced meals, and stay hydrated. Gentle exercises like walking or yoga can improve energy levels. Also, pacing yourself and taking regular breaks during the day can help manage fatigue.

What not to eat during immunotherapy?

During immunotherapy, avoid foods that can cause inflammation or interact negatively with your treatment. These include processed foods, sugary snacks, and alcohol. Some patients may need to avoid specific foods based on their treatment plan, so it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized dietary advice.

How do I feel better during immunotherapy?

To feel better during immunotherapy, focus on self-care and maintaining a healthy routine. Stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, and get regular exercise. Additionally, engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing, such as reading, listening to music, or practicing mindfulness and meditation.

Can you take a break from immunotherapy?

In some cases, your doctor may recommend a break from immunotherapy if side effects become severe or if your body needs time to recover. Always discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before making changes to your treatment plan.

Does exercise improve immunotherapy?

Yes, exercise can improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy by enhancing immune function and overall health. Regular physical activity can help reduce fatigue, improve mood, and increase energy levels. Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.

Can I eat yogurt while on immunotherapy?

Yogurt, especially those with probiotics, can be beneficial during immunotherapy as it supports gut health. However, it’s essential to choose low-sugar options and consult with your healthcare provider to ensure it fits well with your treatment plan.

Do vitamins interfere with immunotherapy?

Some vitamins and supplements can interfere with immunotherapy. It’s crucial to discuss any supplements you’re taking with your healthcare provider to avoid potential interactions. They can provide guidance on which vitamins are safe to use during your treatment.

Does fasting help immunotherapy?

Fasting has been shown in some studies to potentially enhance the effects of certain cancer treatments, including immunotherapy. However, fasting should only be done under medical supervision. Consult your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet.

How do you fight fatigue from immunotherapy?

Fighting fatigue from immunotherapy involves rest, balanced nutrition, hydration, and light physical activity. Incorporating short naps, staying hydrated, and eating energy-boosting foods like nuts, fruits, and vegetables can help. Also, manage stress through relaxation techniques and activities you enjoy.

Does stress affect immunotherapy?

Yes, stress can negatively impact the effectiveness of immunotherapy by weakening the immune system. Managing stress through mindfulness, meditation, regular exercise, and seeking support from friends, family, or a counselor can help improve treatment outcomes.

What makes immunotherapy more effective?

Several factors can make immunotherapy more effective, including maintaining a healthy lifestyle, following your treatment plan, and managing side effects promptly. Staying informed about your condition and treatment options, as well as maintaining open communication with your healthcare provider, also plays a crucial role.

Do probiotics help with immunotherapy?

Probiotics can support gut health, which is crucial during immunotherapy. A healthy gut can help boost your immune system and potentially improve treatment outcomes. However, always consult your doctor before adding probiotics to your regimen.

Is it normal to lose weight during immunotherapy?

Weight loss can occur during immunotherapy due to side effects like nausea and loss of appetite. It’s important to monitor your weight and discuss any significant changes with your healthcare provider. They can offer nutritional advice and support to help manage your weight.

Does vitamin D help immunotherapy?

Vitamin D plays a vital role in immune function and may help enhance the effectiveness of immunotherapy. However, it’s essential to get your vitamin D levels checked and consult your doctor before starting any supplementation.

Can you take vitamin C with immunotherapy?

Vitamin C is generally safe to take during immunotherapy and can support overall immune health. However, high doses might interact with treatment, so it’s important to discuss with your healthcare provider before taking supplements.

Can you take zinc while on immunotherapy?

Zinc is essential for immune function and may be beneficial during immunotherapy. Nonetheless, consult your doctor to ensure the appropriate dosage and avoid potential interactions with your treatment.

What foods help with immunotherapy?

Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, can support your body during immunotherapy. Incorporating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can provide the necessary nutrients to boost your immune system.

How do I prepare my body for immunotherapy?

Preparing your body for immunotherapy involves adopting a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated, get regular exercise, and ensure you have adequate rest. Additionally, managing stress and having a support system in place can help you cope better with the treatment.

Can you work on immunotherapy?

Many people can continue working during immunotherapy, although it depends on individual tolerance and side effects. It’s important to communicate with your employer about your treatment and schedule adjustments if needed. Discuss with your healthcare provider to determine what’s best for your situation.