Tucson Lifestyle April 2015 : Page 70

In Health the allergy shot protocol. Unlike antihista-mine treatments, the shots are an immuno-therapeutic approach. Rather than treating symptoms, they desensitize patients to known irritants (through biologic intro-duction) to increase tolerance and stop overreaction before it starts. The average allergy shot program can last three to five years with a response rate of 80-85 percent. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of patients who adhere to the prescribed pro-tocol are able to stop the program and get off the allergy shots altogether. For patients seeking a holistic approach, Randy Horwitz, M.D., medical director for Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, suggests dietary and lifestyle adjustments in addition to more traditional pharmaceu-tical treatments. “Adding fish oil and ome-ga-3-rich foods, reducing stress levels and increasing the amount of sleep patients get can all boost the immune system.” Sublingual tablets are a hot topic in the discussion of upcoming alternative thera-pies. Although not a new technology, they are not yet widely accepted. In April 2014, the FDA approved the first sublin-gual drop for specific grass pollens in the U.S. Several other sublingual therapies are approved and in use across the pond. The sublinguals, like allergy shots, are immu-notherapy. Although more convenient for patients, they are more limited in scope as they target specific allergen families. Dr. Horwitz predicts that monoclonal antibody and IV therapies are going to be more common. Currently used for cases where traditional treatments aren’t effec-tive, the disease modifying therapy injects proteins into the system that bind to mol-ecules involved in the allergic pathway. Essentially, they block the reaction before it starts. These treatments are becoming more frontline because they are adminis-tered less frequently and tend to be more effective. Tara Carr, M.D., Director, Adult Allergy Program at the University of Arizona. Don’t Move. Just Manage. Although pollen counts are interesting, the amount of pollen doesn’t determine how bad the season is going to be for an individual. It really depends more on patient exposure. — Tara Carr, M.D. Tucsonans thinking of moving to another region to avoid allergy symptoms should think again. Dr. Horwitz asserts that, “people are genetically predisposed to have allergies. When they move to a new geographical location, they will have a honeymoon of one to two seasons, then develop local allergies. It’s just nature.” There is no getting away from allergies, but there are many ways to manage them. . . . 70 TUCSON LIFESTYLE | APRIL 2015 TucsonLifestyle.com

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