Austin Allergy Center

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Austin Allergy Center

Cluster Allergy Immunotherapy

What Is Cluster Allergy Immunotherapy?

Cluster allergy immunotherapy is a variation of standard allergy immunotherapy. Like standard immunotherapy, cluster therapy treats the body’s reaction to allergens rather than the symptoms.

The great difference with cluster allergy immunotherapy is the treatment schedule; the build-up phase to a treatment dose is much shorter than with standard therapy. With cluster immunotherapy (sometimes called “rush immunotherapy”) the patient is administered initial shots over a period of many hours to days. The cluster immunotherapy patient reaches a maintenance dose much faster and rush immunotherapy patients generally achieve the benefits of immunotherapy much more quickly.

The Cluster Immunotherapy Schedule

Cluster immunotherapy involves giving two or more series of allergy shots at each visit, usually spaced apart by 20 to 30 minutes or so. This procedure is performed once a week, and a allows for a person to get to their maintenance dose much quicker usually within 20 weeks compared to 7-8 months with the traditional immunotherapy. While some studies have shown that cluster immunotherapy results in higher rates of allergic reactions than traditional schedules for allergy shots, other studies show no difference for rates of allergic reactions. We recommend medications, such as antihistamines, to minimize these reactions during cluster immunotherapy.

Cluster immunotherapy offers an alternative to traditional schedules for allergy shots, allowing a person to achieve higher doses of allergy shots much quicker, and therefore get benefit sooner. But there is more of a time commitment up front with cluster immunotherapy taking 1-2 hours for every visit initially. The traditional cluster schedule is one series of injections, waiting 20-30 minutes for 40 weeks before the monthly maintenance dose.

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