About Rush Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
Allergy shots are injections made from the things you are allergic to. These injections gradually build up your resistance to your allergies and reduce your symptoms, reduce how much medicine you have to take and, generally, improve the quality of life for allergy and asthma patients.
How is Rush immunotherapy different from the standard shot program?
The standard way of giving allergy shots is to gradually build the dose of your allergy injection one week at a time. Using this method, you will reach the highest dose at about 6 months. This is usually around the when you will begin feeling your allergy symptoms improve although some patients respond earlier and some take longer. Some patients are able to come to the clinic and receive their shot two or three times a week. This will enable them to build up faster but it is hard for most patients to maintain these frequent visits.
With Rush therapy, we have the patient spend an entire day in our clinic. They receive multiple injections every 30-60 minutes. Proceeding carefully, we are able to administer the equivalent of 4 months worth of shots in a single day!
Remember that whatever build-up method is chosen, once you reach the highest “maintenance” dose, all patients still need to come for a once-a-month shot to keep the benefits going, usually for a total of 4-5 years.
What are the advantages of Rush immunotherapy?
The biggest advantage is that the patient will advance to their highest dose much faster. This usually means they will feel their allergy symptoms improve much faster as well. Since the highest dose is only given once a month, it also means that the patient will make it to the more relaxed and convenient, once-a-month schedule faster as well.
Finally, since some insurance companies require a co-payment for each shot visit, having four months’ worth of shots performed at one visit can substantially reduce your costs as well!
Are there any disadvantages to Rush immunotherapy?
Remember that ALL allergy shots have a risk of provoking an allergic reaction. This is why we are very careful to monitor patients closely after every shot. Because the Rush method is more intense, the risk of having an allergic reaction after several injections in a row is even higher. However, we compensate for this increased risk by having each Rush patient take three days of additional medication prior to and during the Rush day.