Immunotherapy for allergic asthma
In many people who have asthma, it is closely linked to an allergy. Their asthma attacks are mainly triggered by allergy-causing substances (allergens), such as pollen, dust mites or animals. Allergen-specific immunotherapy is a treatment option for this kind of asthma.
The goal of allergen-specific immunotherapy is to reduce allergy symptoms in the medium to long term and to prevent asthma attacks. It has to be repeated regularly and takes quite a long time to start working. This treatment is also known as desensitization. It aims to do exactly that: make the immune system less sensitive. In people who are allergic to something, their body is oversensitive or hypersensitive to an allergen. They produce antibodies to fight the allergen, even though it is harmless. These antibodies are part of a chain reaction that leads to allergy symptoms.
In allergen-specific immunotherapy, people are given allergen extracts to try to train their body to react differently: It’s a bit like being “vaccinated” against your own allergy. The allergen extracts can be injected or taken as tablets or drops.