Allergy Tablets vs. Allergy Shots

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Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH
If you take allergy medication, but pollen is still wreaking havoc on your life every spring and fall, there’s a new treatment to talk to an allergist about: allergy tablets. They’re like allergy shots, without the shots. The tablets work by letting small doses of an allergen dissolve under your tongue. For example, if you’re allergic to ragweed, you get exposed to a tiny bit of ragweed every day. It's so small that you’re unlikely to have a reaction to it. And over time, your body will get used to the ragweed and you won't be so allergic to it. Allergy shots do the same thing, but here's why tablets may be better: One, they don’t require needles like allergy shots do. Two, you can take them at home, so no more going to the doctor’s office over and over. And three, there’s a lower risk of serious allergic reactions. You have to take tablets and shots for 3 to 5 years. But if you’re struggling with allergy season, that may seem like a small price to pay. For WebMD, I’m Dr. Arefa Cassoobhoy.