Symptoms and causes

What is it?

For a desensitisation, a very small quantity of an allergen is administered, either by injection or pills. The dose is gradually increased. This allows the body to get used to the allergen and to diminish the allergic symptoms. In some cases, the symptoms may disappear altogether.

When is it indicated?

Desensitisation is possible for patients who have a confirmed grass pollen, tree pollen or dust mite allergy. Desensitisation may not be performed on everyone. This can only be performed if the asthma is perfectly under control, without previous attacks. An injection with the allergen could, in theory, trigger an asthma attack in someone or even cause shock. Pregnancy and certain medications (beta blockers) are also contraindications.

Diagnosis and treatment


The desensitisation process requires the patient to be quite motivated. The treatment lasts at least three years - for the best results, treatment may last up to five years. This treatment is not reimbursed by the RIZIV.

Centres and specialist areas

Ear, nose, and throat diseases

Latest publication date: 17/01/2022
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith