October 16, 2013 - Treatment for allergies doesn't have to be such a pain anymore thanks to an alternative treatment offered by Clarkston physician Maria Livieratos.
Dr Maria Livieratos. (click for larger version)
The most common way a doctors test patients for allergies involves poking the patient with needles containing the allergen protein to see if the body reacts by welting up.
"If the body reacts by welting up, the doctor will measure the welt," said Livieratos. "The bigger the welt the higher the allergy."
In addition to a bunch of shots, a slew of sometimes costly medications is often prescribed.
"Now we don't have to do all the pokes to see how allergic a patient is," said Livieratos speaking of an alternative allergy treatment offered at her practice called sublingual immunotherapy.
The sublingual immunotherapy involves just one blood test that assigns a number telling the doctor how allergic the patient is to the allergen.
After finding out what a patient is allergic too, a serum in the form of drop, is specially made to fit the patients needs. The treatment is administered via drops under the tongue.
The first dose is administered in the office, but then the patient takes the bottle home with them and gives themselves a dose three times a day.
The serum contains a concentration of the allergen, at first at a low dosage and gradually increasing over time.
"Drops are placed under the tongue to affect special cells that help teach the body how to better tolerate substances," said Livieratos.
The new treatment offers an alternative to the old way and especially beneficial to young patients or those who are sensitive to needles, said Livieratos. The treatment is also beneficial to children with eczema and reoccurring ear infections.
Allergy drop immunotherapy are idea for people who either can't tolerate or do not respond to allergy shots. It is especially beneficial to infants, children, patients with chronic conditions, those suffering from food and mold allergies and patients with multiple allergies.
One patient she said benefited greatly from the allergy drops is a 6-year-old boy.
Livieratos said the boy once suffered severe asthma attacks from his allergies.
"His allergies exacerbate his asthma. He was also on several medications, which she said always has a negative impact on the body. Now he's down to one medication because of the drops."
Spring and fall are the worst seasons for allergies. "Spring and fall allergies in fall will often put people into an asthma attack," she said.
Sometimes patients will have an idea what they are allergic too. The most common allergies are ragweed, dogs, cats, trees, grasses leaves and pollen. Symptoms include itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose. "These are all typical signs," she said.
Livieratos said the best way to see if you have allergies is to get tested.
Although the drops treatment is not covered by insurance because it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Livieratos said many patients save money because they don't need to pay for so many medications and trips to the doctors.
Livieratos has offered the treatment in her office for the past year and a half, but also still offers traditional treatment for allergies and asthma.
Similar treatments have been used for more than 60 years in many European countries, and has even been used in the US since the early 1900's.
Livieratos' office is located at 5641 Sashabaw Road in Clarkston. For more information call 248-620-1275.