When to Take Allergy Drops: Timing Your Treatment

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

Allergies can be a persistent and frustrating condition, affecting millions of people worldwide. Traditional treatments like antihistamines and nasal sprays can provide temporary relief, but they don’t address the root cause of allergies. This is where sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), commonly known as allergy drops, comes into play. Allergy drops are a form of immunotherapy designed to gradually desensitize your immune system to allergens. But to achieve the best results, it’s crucial to understand when to take them. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the optimal timing for allergy drops to maximize their effectiveness and improve your quality of life.

Understanding Allergy Drops and How They Work

Allergy drops are a customized form of treatment tailored to your specific allergies. They contain small amounts of the allergens that trigger your symptoms, administered under your tongue. Over time, these drops help your immune system become less sensitive to these allergens, reducing your symptoms and potentially eliminating them altogether.

Unlike traditional allergy medications that only mask symptoms, allergy drops aim to modify your immune response. This process, known as immunotherapy, can take several months to years, depending on the severity of your allergies and your response to treatment. However, the timing of when you take these drops is crucial for their success.

The Best Time to Start Allergy Drops

The timing of starting allergy drops can significantly impact their effectiveness. Here are some key factors to consider:

1. Seasonal Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, it’s best to start allergy drops a few months before the onset of your allergy season. For example, if you’re allergic to pollen and your symptoms typically flare up in the spring, begin your treatment in the winter. This allows your immune system to build up tolerance before you’re exposed to high levels of pollen.

2. Perennial Allergies

For those with year-round allergies, such as dust mites, pet dander, or mold, you can start allergy drops at any time. However, starting treatment during a period when your symptoms are less severe can make the initial stages of treatment more manageable.

3. Allergy Testing and Diagnosis

Before starting allergy drops, it’s essential to undergo thorough allergy testing and receive a proper diagnosis from an allergy specialist. This will help identify the specific allergens causing your symptoms and ensure that your allergy drops are customized to your needs. Starting treatment without a precise diagnosis can result in ineffective or delayed results.

Optimal Daily Timing for Allergy Drops

In addition to when you start your allergy drops, the time of day you take them can also affect their efficacy. Here are some tips for optimal daily timing:

1. Consistency is Key

Taking your allergy drops at the same time every day helps maintain a consistent level of allergens in your system, which is crucial for building tolerance. Choose a time that fits easily into your daily routine, such as first thing in the morning or before bedtime.

2. On an Empty Stomach

Administering allergy drops on an empty stomach can enhance absorption. Wait at least 15 minutes after eating or drinking before taking your drops. This ensures that the allergens are absorbed effectively into your bloodstream.

3. Avoiding Exercise and Alcohol

It’s best to avoid vigorous exercise and alcohol consumption around the time you take your allergy drops. Both can increase blood flow and potentially affect the absorption and effectiveness of the treatment.

Monitoring and Adjusting Your Treatment

The journey with allergy drops is unique for each individual. Regular follow-ups with your allergy specialist are essential to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan. Here are some aspects to consider:

1. Tracking Your Symptoms

Keep a journal of your allergy symptoms and any changes you notice. This can help your specialist determine how well the treatment is working and whether any modifications are needed.

2. Adjusting Dosage

Your allergy specialist may adjust the dosage of your drops based on your progress. It’s important to follow their instructions closely and report any side effects or concerns promptly.

3. Staying Committed

Immunotherapy is a long-term commitment. It’s crucial to stay consistent with your treatment and not skip doses, even if you start feeling better. Skipping doses can disrupt the desensitization process and delay your progress.

Benefits of Allergy Drops

When taken correctly, allergy drops offer several benefits:

1. Convenience: Allergy drops can be taken at home, eliminating the need for frequent visits to the doctor’s office for allergy shots.

2. Safety: Sublingual immunotherapy has a lower risk of severe reactions compared to traditional allergy shots.

3. Long-Term Relief: Over time, allergy drops can provide lasting relief from allergy symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

4. Customizable: Allergy drops can be tailored to address multiple allergens simultaneously, making them an effective option for individuals with multiple allergies.

Booking an Appointment with HeyAllergy

If you’re considering allergy drops as a treatment option, the first step is to consult with an experienced allergy specialist. At HeyAllergy, we offer comprehensive allergy testing and personalized sublingual immunotherapy plans designed to address your unique needs. Our online telemedicine platform makes it easy to receive expert care from the comfort of your home.

Don’t let allergies control your life. Book an appointment with HeyAllergy today and take the first step towards lasting relief. Our team of specialists is here to guide you through every step of your treatment journey.

FAQ - Timing Allergy Drops

Is there a specific time of day that is best for taking allergy drops? It's generally recommended to take allergy drops in the morning, ideally on an empty stomach. This timing can enhance absorption and effectiveness. However, consistency is more important than the specific time of day.

Can I take allergy drops at night before bed? Yes, you can take allergy drops at night, especially if it fits better with your routine. The key is to take them at a consistent time each day and preferably on an empty stomach.

What if I miss a dose of my allergy drops? If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed one.

Should I take allergy drops before or after meals? It's best to take allergy drops before meals or on an empty stomach. Wait at least 15-30 minutes after taking the drops before eating or drinking anything besides water.

Does the timing of allergy drops change during allergy season? The timing of allergy drops generally stays the same throughout the year, including during allergy season. Consistency in timing is crucial for effective treatment.

How long should I wait after brushing my teeth to take allergy drops? It's advisable to wait at least 15-30 minutes after brushing your teeth before taking allergy drops. This helps to ensure that the allergens aren't diluted or washed away, allowing for optimal absorption.

Can the effectiveness of allergy drops decrease if not taken at the same time every day? While slight variations in timing shouldn't drastically affect the effectiveness of allergy drops, significant inconsistencies can. It's best to take them around the same time each day for optimal results.