The Asthma Center

Insect venom immunotherapy

Individuals at risk for systemic reactions including anaphylaxis as a result of an insect sting due to bees, yellow jackets, hornet, wasps, and imported fire ant who have positive skin test or RAST Assay (blood test) objectively supporting their current allergy to these insects are candidates for allergy injection treatment or immunotherapy.

How it works
Insects are stimulated to release their venom which is collected, concentrated, purified, and standardized for injection treatment.
Individuals that are allergic to specific insects initially receive diluted venom injections once a week. The initial dose is so low that although it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction it does cause the production of antibodies against the venom. In addition, other protective immunologic changes occur. Over time, the concentration of the venom injection is gradually increased until one has reached a therapeutic dose which offers enough protection to ward off an anaphylactic reaction if stung by one or two of the offending insects.

Treatment usually lasts 5 or more years and is protective in up to 95% of treated individuals.

It is advisable for those who have had severe reactions to stinging insects to carry or wear an ID bracelet identifying him/her as a person sensitive to hymenoptera. These can be obtained from the Medic Alert Foundation.