Desensitisation Treatment for Allergy

At Spire Cardiff Hospital we understand that any type of allergy can affect your quality of life. Therefore, we have developed an allergy desensitisation service to allow our patients access to a leading specialist in allergy, Dr Tariq El Shanawany, who is able to offer a quick diagnosis and treatment plan, ensuring that you can receive the best treatment option for your individual needs.


There are a number of different treatments for allergies, but most treat the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. Desensitisation immunotherapy is a treatment which offers the possibility of curing your allergy. The treatment involves carefully controlled repeated exposure to the allergen which can switch off the allergic immune response. Currently, this is available for aeroallergens (such as house dust mite, grass pollens, tree pollens, cat, dog and horse) and bee and wasp venom.

When will I feel the benefits?

Benefit from treatment can begin within months. Maximum clinical benefit is obtained by three years of treatment with aeroallergen immunotherapy, and by five years of treatment with venom immunotherapy. Continuing treatment beyond this does not lead to any additional benefit and therefore these treatments are stopped after three years and five years respectively. Immunotherapy has the added benefit of reducing the risk of developing other allergies later in life, preventing a process known as the ‘allergic march’.

How is the treatment administered?

Desensitisation immunotherapy can be administered either by injections into the arm (subcutaneous) or by dissolvable tablets or drops placed under the tongue (sublingual). Both options are available for aeroallergens but bee and wasp venom desensitisation is only available by injection.

Injection Therapy

For injection immunotherapy, every injection has to be administered in hospital and the patient has to remain for an hour post-injection to ensure there is not an adverse reaction.

Tablet Therapy

The first dose of sublingual immunotherapy must be given in hospital to ensure it is tolerated, but subsequent doses can be administered at home.

Schedules of treatment

The schedules vary according to the allergen and the administration route and are detailed below:

  • Sublingual tablet:
    First dose administered in hospital
    Followed by daily administration at home for three years
    Must be started outside the pollen season but can be continued through the season.
  • or subcutaneous injection:
    Four doses, each a week apart given outside of the hayfever season
    Repeated at years two and three (ie, three sets of four injections)

House dust mite, cat, dog or horse:

  • Sublingual drops:
    First dose administered in hospital
    Followed by daily administration at home for three years
  •  or subcutaneous injection:
    Weekly injections for six weeks (updosing phase)
    Followed by injections every four to six weeks for three years

Bee/wasp venom:

  • Subcutaneous injection:
    12 weekly doses (updosing phase)
    Followed by an injection after two weeks
    Followed by injections every four weeks until two years
    Followed by injections every six weeks for a further three years (ie, five years in total)

For further information or to book an initial consultation call us on 029 2073 5515 or complete the form on the right-hand side of this page.

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