Allergy Shots vs Drops: Which Is More Effective?
Written By Kobi Nathan, Pharm.D., M.Ed., CDP, BCGP, AGSF
Sleep Disorders
January 16, 2023

Allergy season can be a difficult time for those who suffer from allergies, and many individuals are faced with the decision of whether to get allergy shots vs. allergy drops.

This is an important topic to consider when determining which treatment option best fits your lifestyle.

While both treatments offer potential benefits in managing symptoms, there are risks associated with each one that should not be overlooked.

In this article, we will explore the overview, benefits, and considerations of both options so you can make an informed decision about what’s right for you.

Allergy Shots vs. Drops: Overview

Allergy shots and drops are two different forms of immunotherapy used to treat allergies.

Allergy shots, also known as subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), involve injecting a small amount of allergen extract into the skin with a needle.

The dose is gradually increased over time until the patient develops tolerance to the allergens.

Allergy drops, also known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), involve placing tablets or liquid drops containing allergen extracts under the tongue for absorption into the bloodstream.

Benefits of Allergy Shots

Allergy shots can be more effective than allergy drops in treating certain types of allergies, such as hay fever and asthma, because they provide higher doses of allergens that can desensitize patients more quickly.

In addition, allergy shots may reduce or eliminate symptoms faster than other treatments like antihistamines or nasal sprays.

Finally, since there’s no need to take daily medication with allergy shots, it can save money in the long run by reducing doctor visits and prescription costs associated with managing chronic allergies.

Benefits of Allergy Drops

Unlike allergy shots which require weekly trips to your doctor’s office for injections, allergy drops are taken at home daily so they’re much easier and more convenient to use compared to traditional SCIT treatment options.

Additionally, SLIT has been shown to have fewer side effects than SCIT due to its lower dosage levels which makes it safer for children who may not be able to handle regular injections well enough yet.

Therefore, it is important that you consult your doctor before starting any type of immunotherapy program so they can determine if this type of treatment is right for you based on your individual health history and needs.

Anaphylaxis reactions from high dosages or allergic reactions caused by incorrect dosing levels when using either method incorrectly or without proper medical supervision may occur, so it is essential to be aware of the risks associated with both forms of immunotherapy.

Allergy shots and drops are both viable options for managing allergies, but it’s important to understand their differences before deciding which is best for you.

Now let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of allergy shots.

Key Takeaway: Allergy shots and drops are two different forms of immunotherapy used to treat allergies. Allergy shots can be more effective, but allergy drops are easier and safer for children. Before starting any type of immunotherapy program, consult a doctor to ensure it is the right choice for you and understand the risks associated with both methods.

Benefits of Allergy Shots

Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, are a type of treatment that helps reduce the symptoms of allergies.

Allergy shots involve receiving injections with small amounts of an allergen over time to help build up your body’s tolerance to it.

This type of therapy is often recommended for people who have severe or persistent allergies that cannot be managed with other treatments, such as medications and avoidance strategies.

One major benefit of allergy shots is long-term relief from allergies.

Unlike other treatments which may only provide temporary relief, allergy shots can provide lasting results if taken regularly over a period of several years.

Additionally, some studies suggest that this form of treatment can even lead to permanent remission in some cases.

Another advantage is that they tend to cause fewer side effects than other forms of treatment like anticholinergic antihistamines or corticosteroids.

While these medications can effectively relieve symptoms in the short term, they may come with unpleasant side effects such as drowsiness or mood swings when used long-term.

Allergy shots don’t carry any risk for these types of reactions since they contain only very small amounts of allergens and are administered slowly over time so your body has time to adjust before you receive another dose.

Finally, allergy shots can be tailored specifically for each individual depending on their particular sensitivities and needs since different allergens require different doses and schedules for optimal effectiveness.

Your doctor will work closely with you to determine what works best based on your specific situation to get the most out of your treatment plan without experiencing any adverse reactions due to incorrect dosages or timing intervals between injections.

Allergy shots provide a longer-term solution for those suffering from allergies, but allergy drops can also be an effective alternative.

Next, let’s look at the benefits of allergy drops.

Key Takeaway: Allergy shots can provide long-term relief, cause fewer side effects, and be tailored to individual needs. Benefits include: lasting results, fewer side effects, and personalized treatment plan.

Benefits of Allergy Drops

Allergy drops, also known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), are a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional allergy shots.

Allergy drops are taken orally as liquid drops or tablets placed under the tongue.

This type of treatment is becoming increasingly popular due to its convenience and ease of use compared to other treatments, such as injections.

One major benefit of using allergy drops instead of shots is that they can be administered at home without visiting a doctor’s office for each dose.

This makes it easier for people who have busy schedules or live far away from their allergist’s office.

Additionally, since there is no need for needles, many people find this method less intimidating than traditional injections.

Another advantage of using allergy drops over shots is that they require fewer visits to the doctor’s office compared to SCIT.

When done correctly, SLIT has been found to provide long-lasting relief from allergies which can last up to three years after treatment has stopped.

This depends on the severity of your allergies prior to starting therapy and how well you adhere to the recommended dosage schedule set forth by your healthcare provider during treatment.

Also, allergy drops can provide an effective and convenient alternative to allergy shots with minimal side effects.

Overall, allergy drops offer several advantages compared with traditional shot therapies, including convenience and potentially longer-lasting relief.

However, it is important that you consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any type of allergen immunotherapy program so that they can assess whether this type of treatment would be right for you based on your individual needs.

Key Takeaway: Allergy drops offer several advantages compared to traditional shots, such as convenience, affordability and potentially longer-lasting relief. Benefits include: no need for needles, can be administered at home, may be more affordable in some cases and provide long-term relief.

Risks & Considerations

With SCIT, there is quicker exposure to allergens, and the body’s immune system is activated more quicker than SLIT therapy.

The shots can induce a stronger immune response and cause more severe allergic reactions in some people, such as hives or swelling at the injection site.

With regard to SLIT, it is still possible to have an allergic reaction, but it is typically less severe compared to allergy shots.

Caution should be exercised when administering SLIT around children or other vulnerable populations who may not be able to recognize signs of a potential reaction quickly enough for proper treatment if one were to occur.

Key Takeaway: Allergy shots and drops are both common treatments for allergies, but each come with their own risks. Allergy shots involve an injection that can cause reactions in some people, while allergy drops are taken orally and may still trigger a reaction. Speak to your doctor before beginning either treatment to understand the potential risks.

FAQs in Relation to Allergy Shots vs. Drops

Do allergy shots work better than drops?

They work by introducing small amounts of the allergen into your body over time to help reduce your sensitivity and symptoms.

Studies have shown that allergy shots can be more effective than drops in reducing allergic reactions and improving quality of life.

Allergy shots may take several months to start working but can provide long-term relief from allergies with fewer side effects than other treatments.

Talk to your doctor about whether allergy shots are right for you.

Are allergy drops safer than allergy shots?

Allergy drops, also known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), are a form of allergy treatment that involves placing liquid drops containing allergens under the tongue.

SLIT is generally considered to be safer than traditional allergy shots because it does not involve injections, and there is less risk of anaphylaxis or other serious reactions.

However, SLIT may not be effective for everyone and should only be used after consulting an allergist.

Additionally, some people may experience mild side effects such as itching in the mouth or throat irritation.

Can you switch from allergy shots to allergy drops?

Yes, it is possible to switch from allergy shots to allergy drops.

Allergy drops are a form of immunotherapy that involves taking small doses of an allergen under the tongue daily or weekly instead of receiving regular injections.

This type of therapy has been found to be effective in reducing symptoms and can provide long-term relief for those with allergies.

It is important to consult your doctor before making any changes in treatment, as they will be able to assess if this option would work best for you and help determine the right dosage and frequency.

Why are allergy drops not covered by insurance?

Allergy drops are not typically covered by insurance because they are considered an elective or non-essential treatment.

Allergy drops, also known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), involve administering small doses of allergens under the tongue to help reduce sensitivity and allergic reactions over time.

While this type of therapy can be effective in some cases, it is generally seen as a lifestyle choice rather than a medical necessity and therefore is not covered by most health insurance plans.


In conclusion, allergy shots and drops are both viable options for treating allergies.

Allergy shots provide long-term relief from symptoms but require regular visits to the doctor’s office and may cause side effects such as swelling or redness at the injection site.

Allergy drops can be taken in the comfort of your own home, but they take longer to become effective and may not work for everyone.

Ultimately, it is important to talk with your doctor about which option is best for you based on your individual needs and lifestyle when considering allergy shots vs. drops.

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