Which is Cheaper: Allergy Medications, Allergy Drops, or Allergy Shots?

How much money are you spending on allergy medications? Allergy pills and asthma inhalers can total hundreds per month. Allergy medications can make you feel temporarily better. However, they may not be a great investment because they don’t fix the underlying allergy—just its symptoms. That means once you stop taking them, the allergies return.

For a more lasting investment, consider allergy immunotherapy which can help reduce the underlying allergic disease (not just symptoms) by desensitizing the body to allergens in the environment.

The next question you may ask yourself, then, is this: allergy shots or under-the-tongue allergy drops (also known as sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT)? Both have been shown to be effective in treating allergies. Drops have the natural advantage of hurting less since they don’t involve shots—just droplets under the tongue.

But what about the sublingual immunotherapy cost vs. the cost of shots? Check with your individual insurance company to see if they cover shots and/or allergy drops. Most insurance plans cover shots. Some insurance plans cover allergy drops, but even if they do not cover sublingual immunotherapy cost, don’t write off allergy drops on account of expenses alone. Consider some unseen costs of allergy shots:

Travel costs. Shots must be given at the doctor’s office –usually twice a week. Because allergy drops are safer, though, they can be taken at home. That means less gas and wear and tear on your car!

Co-pays. This cost may seem small, but if your insurance company requires you to pay a fee for each allergy shot, this can add up fast! Many doctors who offer allergy drops provide a cash-pay discount for patients whose insurance plans won’t cover allergy drops. Often, the non-insurance rates aren’t a whole lot more than the cost of co-pays for shots.

Productivity. If you are concerned about taking time away from work or family for allergy shots at the doctor’s office, consider the “opportunity cost.” Allergy drops have the advantage of not interrupting your other obligations because they can be taken at your convenience at home.

You can’t put a price tag on good health, but you can do some wise cost comparisons as you consider the best path for getting help for your allergies.