July 31, 2014

VIT Report: One Year Into Venom Immunotherapy

It's been a year since I started VIT and here's the scoop. The nurses that I asked didn't seem to know but, from what I could find on the Internet, industry target for VIT seems to be 100μg per injection, which is a full cc. (Bees release 50–140μg of venom per sting.) My maintenance dose is currently half that (the computer screen there says 0.5cc) but the goal remains a full cc.

I've been held back because of the two reactions I had. Since we changed up where I get my injections (arm, arm, hip) I haven't had anything more than a local reaction, but I have no idea when I'll start building up again. It's at the doctor's discretion and the nurses won't fathom a guess. My guess is they'll milk the monthly income for quite a while.

At one of my monthly visits, the nurse discovered that the vial of mixed vespids venom was empty so I didn't get that injection that day. I waited for a call that new venom was ready but I never got the message. By the time I followed up myself, it had been too many days since my last m.vespid injection so they dropped me down "two doses." Where normally I would receive 0.5μg/ml, they would only give me 0.3μg, and 0.4μg the next visit. So it took me three months to get back to where I was, at my half-maintenance dose! Thanks, Verizon, your voicemail service is just awesome.

As it turned out, I exceeded some day-count for my 0.4μg build with the m.vespids and they made me do a twice-a-week protocol… Totally confusing, I know. My point is, the schedule is really structured, so if you're contemplating VIT it's important to adhere to it if you want to a) finish faster and b) keep costs down. Remember, it's $20 for one injection or $25 for two-or-more AND repeating doses means you deplete your antigen supply quicker. Refill = kaChing!

More interesting reading: Clinical immunology review series: an approach to desensitization


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