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Old 01-12-2012, 04:49 PM   #1
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Unhappy Immunotherapy Failure

So, a bit of background:

I was diagnosed with pretty severe ragweed and mold allergies as a child, and started immunotherapy around age 5. By age 8 or so, I was pretty much alright and just went to a daily antihistamine. Cut to age 15, and I'm an allergic wreck. I go for skin testing, and react horribly to various weeds, molds, trees, and grasses. Was put immediately back on immunotherapy.

Four years later, we see no visible improvement and I'm actually reacting worse than I was before, so we reformulate, up the concentration, and try some more. Four years later, we have seen no visible improvement, and I'm only getting worse. By this point I've been on completely undiluted and separated serum. I am now getting 0.35cc of undiluted serum for EACH of my four major categories of allergies every three weeks. So that's four shots at a time. And after a few years of this, I am only worse off than when I started. I was retested just last week, and I am reacting to the exact same things with little to no apparent improvement across the board.

For some additional information:
- I am now 23, almost 24. I have been on allergy shots for about 9 years now.
- I have been on just about every antihistamine at one point or another. My body seems to build up a tolerance to them after a little while and I have to change to another one. I am now ordering Drixoral from Canada, since there's not really anything left in America that I can take.
- Nose sprays have not been very effective in the past, on the rare occasions that my nose is open enough to even get anything in there.
- I seem to get some pretty regular sinus infections, and suffer from frequent headaches and sinus pressure.
- I eat a pretty minimal diet, and did not test positive for food allergies to anything that I eat.

So... any thoughts? I would really appreciate it.

 
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:21 AM   #2
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Re: Immunotherapy Failure

If I were you, I would find another allergist and do so FAST. I am no dr., but to only receive your injections every three weeks seems like a long span in between to me. My allergies are VERY severe like yours and I go weekly. Believe me, there are allergists and there are allergists. I speak from experience. If you care to stay with this allergist, why not ask why you are not receiving the injections more often.

 
Old 01-14-2012, 05:43 PM   #3
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Re: Immunotherapy Failure

I have found that there are allergists who do it monthly for life while the standard is once a week till maintenance (usually around 6 months out) and then monthly for 5 years. I would also recommend finding another allergist.

 
Old 01-15-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: Immunotherapy Failure

First of all, I would agree with the other 2 that you need to start looking for another allergist. I actually found that because of where I live that I have to take the shots every week for them to be effective.

I also, on top of Allegra D (have to have a decongestant, otherwise it's pointless for me) have to flush my sinuses with an irrigation each day. I use Ocean Sinus irrigation once in the morning and once at night to clear my sinuses of what I'm allergic to. Never right before bed, always 2-3 hours before. If I flush my sinuses right before bed, I find that I cough a lot. You want to have time sitting up after you take it.

I understand where you are coming from. An allergist is going to tell you what you are allergic to and try to desensitize you. You also need to check to make sure you don't have polyps. Allergies over time can cause polyps, and they make you feel congested all the time. I have a severe allergy to salicylates. It's a natural substance found in everything. I can't avoid it... I just have to monitor and ration how much I take in. I feel your pain... trust me. Doctors made me feel like I was nuts for a very long time. Is it possible that you could be allergic to the drug you are taking? Have they tested you for drugs?

 
Old 02-25-2012, 10:43 AM   #5
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Re: Immunotherapy Failure

I got an allergy testing 2 yrs ago but didn't accept the immunology treatment. Last yr the allergies (nasal--itchy eyes/nose, severe sneezing til my throat hurts)...disappeared..but came back this yr. it's gotten to the point of intolerance, so I'm ready to give immunotherapy a try. Shd I get re-tested or would the 2-yr old results be good enough?

 
Old 02-25-2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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Re: Immunotherapy Failure

Your former testing should be fine! And don't forget that it takes time for those injections to take full effect. The sooner you start, the better off you will be. Good luck!

 
Old 02-25-2012, 01:39 PM   #7
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Re: Immunotherapy Failure

I would be surprised if your doctor would accept 2 year old results with which to formulate your serum.

 
Old 02-25-2012, 07:13 PM   #8
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Re: Immunotherapy Failure

Allergy shots aren't effective for everyone. Normally they are stopped after a couple of years max if they aren't doing any good. I can't imagine going thru that if they are not helping at all!!! I agree that maybe you should see another allergist, get tested again by a different allergist & make sure that you are actually allergic to what they told you and taking the correct serums. Is it possible that the worst of your symptoms could actually be caused by something other than allergies? Have you had your sinuses checked out? Could you have non allergic rhinitis as well, which is causing a lot of your symptoms? I think it would definitely be worthwhile to talk to another dr just to get another opinion.

 
Old 03-21-2012, 01:57 PM   #9
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Re: Immunotherapy Failure

I have been on and off of allergy shots since I was a kid (39 now), and never thought they did much good, until this last...round. It took four years for me to be able to tell a difference, but it does make a difference...FINALLY (and I notice that it was only til I reached the max level that I could tell a difference).

When I reached a certain level, they told me I could start coming every other week, or even every three weeks, and of course, who wouldn't do that? Within a few weeks, of going every two weeks (instead of every week), at the highest dose, I could tell my allergies were worse.
So for me, the lesson was:
1. These things can take YEARS to work
2. I wish I could somehow get a stronger dose than the top level as I really think I would benefit
3. I MUST get my shot once a week...skipping a week means bad things, allergy-wise

I would highly recommend using a sinus rinse (Neilmed BIG bottle, not neti) every day (or in your case, I would get a sinus irrigator machine (which is basically a modified water pic). I personally have my own little recipe that works GREAT (and also since I used to have tons of sinus infections, I got be an unwilling, self medicating expert in the area) Not only helps with sinuses, but with allergies in general as well in my experience:

1. Sinus rinse mixture (just buy a box of 100 pre mixed packets for convenience...generic CVS brand),
2. Sterile warm water of course
3. Xylitol (you can buy it in packets)
4. Alkalol (can be bought online at Amazon) (This stuff is AWESOME)
5. When I am really bad, I use liquid budesonide (VERY cheap, but you will need a Rx for it) which really opens you up (it's a steroid, and used topically in a sinus rinse, REALLY gets into the cavities where nasal spray steroids don't get)
6. GSE - (Grapefruit Seed Extract - liquid) - the nuclear bomb of sinus rinse ingredients. Just a LITTLE drop or two...no more! Trust me on that one. Potent stuff.

Also, try using Xlear nasal spray during the day a few times (has tiny amount of GSE in it, as well as Xylitol in it)

 
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