How much do allergy shots cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much do allergy shots cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much do allergy shots cost?

$1,000 – $4,000cost per year (without insurance)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$1,000 – $4,000 cost per year (without insurance)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tamatha Hazen
Written by
Tamatha Hazen
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tara Farmer

Average cost of allergy shots

Allergy shots cost $1,000 to $4,000 per year, including $600 for the initial customized serum plus $20 to $30 per visit for shots. Allergy immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that is effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms from allergens like pollen, mold, house dust, pet dander, and insect stings.

Allergy immunotherapy shots cost per year
Service Average cost
(without insurance)
Serum $600 per vial (initial vial) Covers the first customized vial which lasts a year, with subsequent vials costing $100 to $300 each
Administration fee $20 – $30 per visit Covers the office visit to get the shot administered by a medical professional. Patients may save by doing their shots at home after some training
Annual cost $1,000 – $4,000 per year Includes 1 to 2 shots weekly for the 3- to 6-month buildup phase, followed by 1 to 2 shots per month for the 4- to 12-month maintenance period

What are allergy shots?

Allergy shots reduce or eliminate allergy symptoms by gradually introducing small amounts of allergens into your body to train your immune system to tolerate them. Your allergist can create a customized shot containing extracts from various allergens you're sensitive to. This personalized approach avoids the need for multiple injections for each trigger.

Unlike over-the-counter allergy medications that only manage symptoms temporarily, allergy shots offer lasting relief, sometimes for years or even permanently. Allergy shots are available for pet allergies, pollen, mold, dust mites, and stinging insects. Allergy shots do not treat food allergies, medication allergies, or latex allergies.

A woman sneezing and blowing her nose while suffering from allergies
A woman sneezing and blowing her nose while suffering from allergies
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Allergy immunotherapy cost

Allergy immunotherapy costs $1,000 to $4,000 per year for subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) shots. Alternate treatments include sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) drops costing $800 to $1,800 per year and over-the-counter medications costing $25 to $250 per year, depending on the frequency of the medication use.

Allergy shot prices and alternatives
Treatment Average cost per year
Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) $1,000 – $4,000
Sublingual allergy drops (SLIT) $800 – $1,800
Over-the-counter medications $25 – $250
EpiPen emergency treatment $100 – $750 per two-pack

Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT)

Subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), or allergy shots, cost $1,000 to $4,000 per year on average, with most patients continuing treatment for 3 to 5 years. Before starting allergy shots, your doctor will test to determine which allergens cause your symptoms. Allergy testing costs $60 to $300.

Allergy shots are injected in the upper arm on a schedule that involves two phases:

  • Buildup phase: Patients have 1 to 3 shots per week for 3 to 6 months during the build-up phase, and the allergen exposure dose is gradually increased with each shot.

  • Maintenance phase: Patients have shots about once a month, continuing for another 3 to 5 years, depending on their reaction.

A doctor giving an allergy shot to a patient
A doctor giving an allergy shot to a patient

Sublingual allergy drops

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) allergy drops cost $800 to $1,800 per year and offer an alternative to allergy shots for treating chronic allergies. The liquid solution contains tiny amounts of the allergen you’re sensitive to, and the drops are placed under the tongue (sublingually) instead of injected into the skin.

Similar to allergy shots, SLIT works by gradually exposing your body to small, increasing doses of the allergen, training your system to become less sensitive over time. Drops typically take 3 to 5 years of consistent daily use to see the full benefits.

Sublingual immunotherapy pros & cons
Pros Cons
  • Needle-free for people who are afraid of shots
  • Self-administered at home rather than at the doctor’s office
  • Potentially as effective as shots for certain allergies
  • Provide long-term symptom control once established
  • Not FDA-approved for all allergens
  • Not covered by insurance
  • Takes longer to see noticeable symptom improvement
  • May cause mild mouth irritation, itching, or swelling under the tongue

Over-the-counter medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicines cost $25 to $250 per year and can be a convenient and affordable option for managing mild to moderate allergy symptoms. However, OTC meds are not a replacement for professional advice by a doctor or allergist for severe or persistent allergies.

The most common OTC allergy medicines include:

  • Antihistamines: These relieve symptoms like itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and hives. They come in tablet, liquid, and nasal spray forms that are generally safe for adults and children. Side effects can include drowsiness, dry mouth, and blurred vision. Examples include Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Loratadine (Claritin), and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

  • Decongestants: These relieve nasal congestion and pressure and come in oral and nasal spray forms. They are not recommended for people with high blood pressure or heart problems and can cause rebound congestion with prolonged use. Examples include Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE).

  • Nasal steroids: These non-addictive nasal sprays are highly effective for treating nasal allergy symptoms like congestion, runny nose, and itching. They offer long-lasting relief and are non-addictive but take longer to work than other options. Examples include Fluticasone (Flonase) and Mometasone (Nasonex).

  • Eye drops: These provide targeted relief for itchy, watery eyes and may be available with antihistamines or mass cell stabilizers for different needs. They provide temporary relief only and may interfere with contact lenses. Examples include Loratadine ophthalmic (Alaway) and Ketotifen fumarate (Zaditor).

EpiPen emergency treatment

Regardless of the allergy immunotherapy treatment, patients with severe allergies must carry an EpiPen for potential severe reactions. An EpiPen costs $100 to $735 per two-pack, depending on whether it’s the generic or brand-name version. An EpiPen is not a cure for allergies but can be a lifesaver for people who are at risk of anaphylaxis.

FAQs about allergy shots

Do allergy shots work?

Yes, allergy shots are effective in reducing or eliminating allergy symptoms from various allergens, including trees, grass, weeds, mold, house dust, animal dander, and insect stings. Studies show that:

  • 80% of people with hay fever see significant improvement in their symptoms.

  • 60% of people have permanent benefits after three to five years of allergy shots.

Are allergy shots worth it?

Allergy shots are expensive and require a long-term commitment involving injections for months or even years. But, for many patients, they are worth it. Allergy shots can provide lasting relief from symptoms for years or even permanently. Also, studies suggest that allergy shots in children might help prevent the development of new allergies.

Are allergy shots covered by insurance?

Coverage for allergy shots varies widely between insurance plans. While some plans offer complete coverage, others require deductibles, coinsurance, or might not cover them at all. Some states have mandated insurance coverage for allergy shots, so check your state regulations as well.

How many days can you go between allergy shots?

The number of days between allergy shots depends on the stage of your treatment and your allergist's recommendations. During the buildup phase, you typically receive shots 1 to 3 times a week, with a maximum gap of 7 days between appointments. Once you reach the maintenance phase, shots are every 2 to 4 weeks.

How long does it take allergy shots to work?

Most people notice a reduction in symptoms within a year of starting allergy immunotherapy, with even more noticeable improvement in the second year. However, it often takes 3 to 5 years of ongoing maintenance treatments to become desensitized enough that you no longer have a reaction to the allergen.

Are allergy shots safe?

Allergy shots are safe for most people. The most common side effects are mild and localized, like redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site. Patients with pre-existing health conditions may require careful monitoring during treatment. Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction requiring immediate medical attention, is rare.

Doctors require patients to wait in the office for at least 30 minutes after receiving allergy shots since most serious reactions develop within 30 minutes of the allergy injections.

Discussing allergy shots with your doctor

Consider these tips and have an open discussion with your doctor or allergist to ensure you make an informed decision about whether allergy shots are the right treatment option for you:

  • Prepare your questions: Come to your appointment with a list of questions about allergy shots, including the benefits and risks, treatment process, costs and insurance, and alternative treatments available.

  • Share your allergy history: Tell your doctor about your allergy symptoms, their severity, and how they impact your daily life. Mention any past allergy treatments you've tried and their effectiveness.

  • Discuss your health concerns: Discuss any health conditions you have, medications you're taking, and any concerns you have about allergy shots.

  • Take notes: During your consultation, write down important information your doctor shares, such as recommended treatment plans, potential side effects to watch for, and follow-up appointments.

Questions to ask your allergist

Preparing for your appointment with your allergist can help increase your understanding of allergy shots and what to expect with treatment. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Am I a good candidate for allergy shots?

  • What allergens will the shots target?

  • What are the expected benefits and timeline?

  • What are the safety precautions and potential risks?

  • What is the treatment plan and time commitment?

  • Can I continue taking medications?

  • What happens if I miss a shot or have a reaction?

  • What are the alternatives to allergy shots?

  • What should I do if I experience side effects during treatment?

  • How will I know if the allergy shots are working?