What is hyposensitization / specific immunotherapy?

The process of getting the immune system used to an (allergy-triggering) substance with the help of a slow and continuous increase in dose.

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Hypo comes from ancient Greek and means something like “below” or “low”. In principle, the aim is to desensitize the immune system and make it less sensitive in order to suppress the allergic reaction. The term “specific immunotherapy” is therefore sometimes used as a synonym for hyposensitization, because it is usually carried out against individual allergens – usually the one that causes the strongest allergic reaction.

There are two ways in which desensitization can be performed:

  • By injection under the skin (subcutaneous)
  • By tablet to be placed under the tongue until dissolved (sublingual)

However, there is often a combination of different ways, so that, for example, an injection therapy is started and after a certain point those affected continue to treat themselves at home with the help of tablets. It is important to stay on the ball continuously so that the body can get used to the allergy-causing substance. However, interested allergy sufferers must have staying power – because it is not uncommon for therapy to last three to five years.

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