How Curex's at-home allergy testing and immunotherapy treatment could help you manage lifelong allergies
- If you live with allergies that disrupt your daily life, Curex's immunotherapy treatment may help.
- Immunotherapy slowly exposes you to small doses of allergens so your body becomes less sensitive.
Must Read: Allergy Treatments by Curex
Allergies seem to be on the rise — and although scientists aren't sure exactly why, some theories suggest that lack of exposure to everyday germs and increased use of antibiotics may be to blame.
As of 2022, more than 50 million Americans live with allergies to any number of things, including:
- Pet dander
Allergic reactions can range in severity, from mild symptoms like sneezing or itchy eyes to severe, life-threatening reactions that involve difficulty breathing.
But even if you mostly experience mild symptoms, dealing with a lifelong allergy can be frustrating. Although you have plenty of options for getting relief — from nasal irrigation to taking antihistamines — experts have yet to find a cure for allergies themselves.
However, one promising potential treatment is immunotherapy. With this treatment, you gradually expose yourself to increasing amounts of a particular allergen so your body can become less sensitive and reactive to it.
The telemedicine company Curex is one company that offers this approach, along with at-home allergy testing. Their prescription immunotherapy treatments aim to both ease your symptoms and boost your body's tolerance to allergy triggers for long-term relief.
So, can Curex help you overcome lifelong allergies? Here's what to know about how it works, and when you may want to work with an allergist instead.
When your body comes in contact with an allergen, it produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
Curex offers hospital-grade IgE allergy tests that measure the levels of this substance in your blood. These tests involve taking a small sample of blood from a vein.
With Curex, you can get testing for many of the most common allergens, including:
- Pets: Dogs, cats, horses and more
- Tree pollen: Birch, ash, cedar, and more
- Grass pollen: Bermuda grass, timothy grass, and more
- Weed pollen: Ragweed, mugwort, and more
- Indoor allergens: Mold, dust mites, cockroaches, and more
It's worth noting that Curex can test for multiple allergens at once. As a matter of fact, your test will be customized based on your specific symptom history and the region you live in.
Curex also treats allergic asthma and eczema, two conditions closely linked to allergies.
The company does not, however, test for or treat food allergies.
Note: Blood allergy tests are slightly less accurate than skin prick allergy tests, where an allergist puts small amounts of allergens on your skin and then makes a small prick to check how your skin reacts. Yet while skin prick tests are more sensitive, they're not reliable if you have hives or a rash or take antihistamines.
How Curex works
Here's how you'll start the treatment process:
1. First, you'll take a free online quiz to determine if Curex is a good fit for you.
2. If your responses indicate that Curex may meet your allergy treatment needs, you'll pay a service deposit of $49 to get started. This deposit is refundable if you don't end up ordering an allergy test.
3. Next, you'll provide some information about your health history and your allergies. If you don't have existing allergy test results, Curex doctors will arrange a test tailored to your needs and concerns.
4. Once you order the allergy test, Curex sends a medical assistant to your home or office to collect a small sample of blood.
5. Curex then evaluates your blood's IgE levels for various allergens.
6. After your sample is collected, you can expect to get your results in about five to seven business days.
7. Once your Curex doctor has your results, they'll recommend a personalized treatment plan.
8. If you have questions or need advice at any point, you can check in with Curex doctors via Zoom, SMS text, or phone.
What's the Cost: Curex's allergy test costs $249, though your insurance may cover some of this amount. The self-pay price is $199.
After your test results come in, your Curex doctor will evaluate your overall health for any risk factors in order to help prevent adverse reactions from the immunotherapy treatment. For example, they may prescribe a plan to get your asthma under control before prescribing immunotherapy.
If you decide to go ahead with treatment, Curex will ship your immunotherapy treatment to you quarterly.
Curex offers a type of immunotherapy treatment known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), which comes in the form of tablets and drops. Curex offers drops you place under your tongue daily. The FDA hasn't approved these drops for treating allergies — unlike tablets, which they have approved.
Note: Allergy shots are the most common form of immunotherapy — but you can only receive these at a doctor's office.
Is immunotherapy safe?
It may feel somewhat nerve-wracking to consider exposing yourself to allergens — even in small doses.
However, it's worth noting that to date, no deaths have been reported from SLIT. In addition, dangerous allergic reactions are very rare, since you expose yourself to allergens only in very small and gradual doses.
That said, Dr. Laura Purdy, a board-certified family medicine physician in private practice, says at-home treatment may not be a good fit for people with severe allergies.
You'll also want to avoid using these drops if you have any open cuts, sores, or ulcers in your mouth.
Does it really work?
Purdy says she's seen people benefit from at-home immunotherapy treatments like Curex. What's more, research generally suggests that SLIT offers a safe and effective alternative to allergy shots.
One review found that SLIT offers long-term relief with minimal and mild side effects, just like allergy shots — but SLIT may actually be safer for people with seasonal allergy rhinitis, aka hay fever.
Whereas allergy shots can be associated with anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction — there's no evidence of that with SLIT. The most common adverse reactions with SLIT remain relatively mild, like itching inside your mouth.
One review even suggests SLIT tablets are more effective for relieving seasonal allergy rhinitis symptoms than antihistamines.
A 2021 study involving people with dust mite allergies examined the benefits of SLIT versus medications like antihistamines and steroid inhalers. Those in the SLIT group experienced greater improvement in their asthma and rhinitis symptoms.
Note: It can take three years or more to experience lasting results from SLIT — however, some evidence suggests your symptoms may noticeably improve within three to six months.
How much does Curex cost?
Without insurance, Curex's immunotherapy treatment costs $99 per month. You'll pay the same rate whether you're treating just one allergen or multiple allergens at once. Shipping and access to an allergist are always included in this monthly price.
Many health insurance plans do cover in-office allergy testing and treatment, but you may still have copays for your visits. Depending on the amount of those copays, Curex could help you save some cash.
If you have insurance, Curex costs $49 per month plus a copay — but this cost is capped at the self-pay price. In other words, even if you have high copays, you'll never pay more than $99 per month.
Curex is currently in-network with many insurance plans across the US, including:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
You can also pay using your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA).
To contrast, the cost of in-office allergy blood tests can range from $200 to $1,000, depending on how many allergies you're testing for, according to Dr. Purvi Parikh, an adult and pediatric allergist and immunologist at Allergy & Asthma Associates of Murray Hill.
Latest research: A 2021 study compared the cost difference between SLIT and allergy shots over a 12-month period. While the baseline total cost of allergy shots was about $2.691, SLIT only cost $1,196.
Curex is the first and largest telemedicine platform focused on allergy immunotherapy.
However, it's not the only company that offers at-home allergy testing and SLIT.
Nectar also offers allergy testing and treatment in the form of liquid drops.
As with Curex, Nectar lets you consult with a licensed physician about your allergy test results, and they come up with a custom treatment plan for you. With Nectar, however, you'll need to wait two to three weeks for your results.
Nectar's allergy test costs $199. The allergy drops cost $99 per month, whether you have insurance or not.
Wyndly, which Purdy recommends, offers the option to upload your allergy test results if you've taken one in the past. With this service, the company sends you an at-home test kit with a lancet to take your own blood sample, which you then mail back.
You'll typically get your results back within a week, and a doctor will review them with you.
Wyndly's test costs $399, and treatment costs $99 per month.
When to work with a professional
Curex may be a good option if you have mild to moderate allergies.
Purdy emphasizes the importance of getting treatment from an allergist or doctor if you:
- Carry an EpiPen for severe allergies
- Have a history of anaphylaxis
With in-office allergy shots, Purdy and Parikh say, a doctor can monitor you for adverse reactions.
Niel Feldman, an allergist-immunologist at Allergy and Asthma Associates, also says at-home allergy tests don't always tell the whole story.
Working closely with a board-certified specialist can ensure more accurate interpretations of the results based on your health history and symptoms.
Services like Curex offer a more convenient and affordable way to take an allergy test. Not only that, they also eliminate the need to get allergy shots at a doctor's office by delivering prescription immunotherapy treatment right to your doorstep.
Immunotherapy treatment may offer some people long-term relief from allergy symptoms by addressing underlying triggers, but it's not for everyone. Experts say this service may only be safe for people who have mild to moderate allergies and have never experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction.
When in doubt about whether or not Curex is right for you, ask your primary care doctor or allergist.
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