A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association offers hope for the needle-wary: drops given under the tongue can help ease allergies safely and effectively.
Sublingual drops, as they are called, have been used in Europe for decades. However, the Food & Drug Administration has never approved them, although some doctors use them off-label.
The drops are made from serum like that used in shots, to desensitize a person to allergy triggers. But they are given much more conveniently, under the tongue. And the drops can usually be taken at home, cutting doctors' office visits.
Dr. Sandra Lin, an allergist and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reviewed 63 studies on the drops, and concluded that in a majority of the studies, patients got at least 40% relief for their symptoms.
Dr. Lin says the less-stressful method could be ideal for children.
She said she conducted the review to bring more attention to this easier method of allergy relief.
Critics say there hasn't been enough research on the drops.