When starting immunotherapy, there are two phases, the ‘build-up phase’ and the ‘maintenance phase.’ In the build-up phase, patients are started at a low dose and gradually built up, receiving increasing amounts of the allergens. Then the maintenance phase begins. In the maintenance phase, an effective therapeutic dose of allergen is reached, and shots can decrease in frequency. Patients can then transition to one shot per week for the next year varying patient to patient. There are multiple ways to reach maintenance; traditionally it can take 3-6 months; however, we also offer two accelerated approaches, cluster shots, which take 4-6 weeks, and rush which will take one to two days.
What is Cluster?
Cluster immunotherapy, or cluster allergy shots, is a quicker build-up method than our traditional build, but less aggressive than our rush build. Instead of 3-6 months, this approach takes 4-9 weeks. Initially, there is a more significant time commitment with extended appointments. These appointments can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours and occur twice a week during those 1-2 months. During these visits, patients receive 3-4 injections with 30 minutes after each injection. These are only done with a doctor or nurse practitioner present. Patients will be required to pre-medicate before these treatments.
Why do Cluster versus Traditional?
The most beneficial part of cluster allergy shots over the traditional allergy shots is that it allows patients to see the benefits of immunotherapy sooner. This schedule can also be more convenient for those who can’t commit to coming in three times a week during build-up phase.
Don’t suffer from allergies for any longer, talk to one of our board-certified allergists today about what approach is best for you. Schedule an appointment today.