Allergy drops offer convenience during cedar season

Drops not covered by insurance; patients willing to pay full price

SAN ANTONIO – You may have already picked out your Halloween costume, but have you picked out your defense for mountain cedar season too? Allergists say it’s time to do both, since cedar season will be in full swing by Thanksgiving, and you need several weeks to get your allergy medication in full power before the pollens pick up speed.

Dr. Patricia Dinger of San Antonio has a waiting room full of ringing timers and patients waiting on their allergy shots and drops to be administered. She said more and more clients are choosing the at-home drops, which are more expensive but more convenient.

Yvonne Deleon is a local singer who plays at the Oak Café next to HEB on Wilderness Oak regularly. Without medication, her career is in jeopardy.  

"It's what I've called 'allergies gone wild.’ After the first of the year, I get some sort of sinus infection due to the ‘allergies gone wild,’" Deleon said.

Deleon started hitting a high note when trying out allergy drops instead of shots. Just one drop a day under the tongue of a very specially formulated mountain cedar protein had a remarkable effect, Deleon said. 

"I don't even have words. For the first time in years, I have no symptoms whatsoever. I mean none,” she said.

Patients can find mountain cedar allergy drops over the counter in all kinds of formulations, but the only ones that are recommended by doctors are backed by scientific study. It’s a case of buyer beware.

Dinger administers the first few weeks of drops in the office to make sure the patient has no reactions in the run-up to full dosage.  

"The drops that you might be able to find over the counter at drug store, those are essential oils or herbal medication and not at all the drops that have science behind them. This is truly the protein that causes the allergy," Dinger said.

While allergy shots are FDA-approved and therefore covered by insurance, allergy drops are not. Patients like Deleon are willing to pay the $300 cash price.

Once at full dosage, Deleon can take the drops at home for the entire mountain cedar season. That convenience keeps her coming back. 

 "I'll be back every year as long as she's (Dinger) doing them, " Deleon said.

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