Allergic diseases, which greatly reduce the quality of life, can become life-threatening in some cases. It is important that these disorders can be treated permanently rather than suppressed. Allergen vaccine therapy, which is used especially in allergic rhinitis, accompanying asthma and bee allergy, is accepted as the only treatment method that changes the course of the disease by affecting the immune system. Patients who have completed their allergen vaccinations regularly for at least 3 years generally experience a comfortable period in terms of allergic diseases for 10-15 years. Memorial Ankara Hospital, Department of Allergy Diseases Prof. Dr. Adile Berna Dursun gave information about vaccine treatment (immunotherapy) in allergy diseases.
It is determined by tests that the person is allergic to which substance.
As a result of an abnormal response of the immune system when the person encounters any external substance that is not normally harmful; The appearance of symptoms such as discharge in the eyes, itching, sneezing, discharge-itching-congestion in the nose, shortness of breath, wheezing, cramps-nausea in the abdomen, diarrhea, fainting, bad feeling, itchy rashes, swellings indicate an allergic disease triggered by allergens. In order to objectively determine which allergen is sensitive, skin tests are performed with allergens that may be related to the symptoms described by people. However, in cases where allergy skin test cannot be performed for various reasons, the responsible allergen is tried to be determined by blood tests.
Allergy vaccine treatment can be applied for uncontrolled allergies
Allergy skin tests, the application and interpretation of which require clinical experience, must be performed by allergy specialists. In the event that the test results and the patient's complaints coincide, the disease is brought under control with preventive measures and medical treatment. If the desired level of control of allergic diseases cannot be achieved with the prevention methods and medical treatments applied, or if the patients do not want to use regular long-term medical treatment, allergy vaccination (immunotherapy) treatment can be applied.
With allergy vaccine treatment, the immune system is gradually accustomed to the allergen
Allergy vaccine is a treatment method that allows the immune system to get used to this allergen by giving the substance to the patient at regular intervals and in increasing doses. In this way, the substance that causes the disease is also used in the treatment of the disease.
It is used in many allergic conditions.
Allergic rhinitis (allergic rhinitis), asthma accompanying allergic rhinitis and bee allergy are the diseases that are especially treated with vaccines. In these diseases, vaccines are most often made with house dust mites, pollen, cat and bee allergens, but they can also be administered with different allergens such as individual latex or mold fungus.
The treatment process may vary according to the allergic problem.
Vaccine treatment must be started when the patient is relatively healthy and the disease is not active. Although the initial period of treatment varies between 6-16 weeks; This process is adjusted according to the selected allergen, the accompanying diseases of the person and the immune system status. It must be applied once a week in the initial period of the vaccine treatment and once a month for 3 years in the continuation period. Although this treatment is usually applied in the form of a needle in the arm, there are also varieties that can be taken orally in the form of drops or tablets.
Observation and follow-up after vaccination is important
After each vaccine administration, the patient should be observed in the hospital environment for half an hour. Effects such as redness and itching can often be seen at the injection site. The patient has no restrictions other than heavy work and not doing sports on the day of vaccination, and people can continue their daily lives.
Pay attention to the continuity of the treatment!
Discontinuation of immunotherapy before 3 years causes incomplete treatment. This may cause more harm than good and make the patient more allergic. For this reason, the vaccine must be administered for 3 years. In very rare cases, especially in cases such as bee allergy, this treatment period can be extended up to 5 years. Even in some patients with special conditions, vaccine treatment can last a lifetime.
The treatment must be applied by allergy specialist doctors.
Vaccination also has risks. For this reason, the treatment must be decided and applied by physicians with allergy expertise. If the specialist does not make the right decision, the wrong treatments to be applied may lead to treatment unresponsiveness, decreased effectiveness and side effects that may result in death.
Medication should not be discontinued for the first 6 months.
In the first 6 months of the vaccine treatment, which can be applied to all age groups, patients should use allergy medications regularly. Patients who are diagnosed with another disease and need to use medication during the vaccination process should definitely notify their physicians of this situation. Because some drugs can cause different interactions during vaccine treatment. However, active cancer, active rheumatology patients and pregnant women are in the group that should not be given vaccine treatment.