Are Home Allergy Shots Safe? Are they recommended?

Several companies are now promoting home allergy immunotherapy to primary care providers.  These programs are promoted as a way for the primary care doctors to increase revenue and to help patients.  These programs are generally not recommended by board-certified allergists.

The CAAS supports the “Practice Parameter for Allergen Immunotherapy” that was published in the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology’s journal JACI (Journa of Allergy and Clinical Immunology) Volume 120, Number 3 in 2007.

The practice parameter states:

Statement 59:  “The preferred location for administration of allergen immunotherapy is in the office of the physician who prepared to patient’s allergen extract.

Statement 61:  “Regardless of location, allergen immunotherapy should be administered under the supervision of an appropriately trained physician and personnel.”

Statement 62:  “In rare and exceptional cases, when allergen immunotherapy cannot be administered in a medical facility and withholding this therapy would result in a serious detriment to the patient’s health (e.g. patients with allergy to venoms, like bee stings, who live in a remote area) very careful consideration of potential benefits and risks of at home administration of allergen immunotherapy should be made on an individual basis.  If this approach is used, the patient and the person administering the injection should be educated about how to administer the immunotherapy and recognize and treat anaphylaxis.

What is a board-certified allergist?

A board certified allergy/immunology doctor has completed 4 years of medical school at an accredited university.  Next, they have to complete at least 3 years of medical residency in either Internal Medicine, Pediatrics or both.  They must become board-certified in one of these areas.  Next, they must complete a 2-3 year fellowship focusing on topics of special interest like allergies, asthma, and immune system problems.  Each of these steps – medical school, residency and fellowship – require the doctors to pass a test or a series of tests before continuing to the next step.

Many health practitioners call themselves “allergy specialists” and claim to have additional training in these areas.  If you want to know if your doctor is a “board-certified” allergy/immunology specialist then you can look them up at www.abai.org.

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