Venom Immunotherapy (VIT) is a safe, effective vaccination program. During VIT, an allergist administers venom extract in increasingly stronger doses to an allergic individual. The venom extracts help the patient’s immune system develop a resistance to future insect stings.
VIT has been found to reduce the risk of systemic reaction in stinging insect allergic patients with an efficacy of 95 to 97%.1,2
The most common side effects are redness and warmth at the shot site. Occasionally, allergic reactions occur which require immediate medical treatment, which is why immunotherapy is provided at a medical facility with a physician present. Since most reactions occur within thirty minutes, patients must stay in the medical facility for this length of time.
Generally, dosage strength is gradually built-up for two to three-and-a-half months, at which time the patient has reached the maintenance dose level. The allergist will determine the necessary duration and frequency of injections for each patient.
1 Valentine MD, Schuberth KC, Kagey-Sobotka A, Graft DF, Kwiterovich KA, Szklo M, et al. The value of immunotherapy with venom in children with allergy to insect stings. N Engl J Med. 1990; 323:1601-3.
2 Valentine MD. Anaphylaxis and stinging insect hypersensitivity. JAMA 1992; 268:2830-2833