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.

Desensitisation is possible for patients who have a confirmed grass pollen, tree pollen or dust mite allergy.

Desensitisation may not be performed on everyone. The asthma must be perfectly under control, without any prior exacerbations. 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.

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: 05/02/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith