The Cost of Allergy Relief: Is Immunotherapy Worth It?

Allergy immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that can reduce the immune response to indoor and outdoor allergens. 

Doses are administered by allergy shots or under the tongue. Treatments are tailored to individual test results, allergies and patient needs. 

Depending on your health insurance plan, allergy immunotherapy may cost as little as a copay (or nothing if your health insurance provider covers allergy immunotherapy). But those without health insurance or high deductibles may shy away from this type of treatment, as allergy immunotherapy can cost upwards of thousands of dollars out of pocket. 

So how much do allergy shots cost, anyway? Is allergy medication more expensive than allergy immunotherapy in the long run? And is under-the-tongue allergy immunotherapy less expensive than its in-office cousin? 

How much do allergy shots cost vs other allergy immunotherapy?

The cost of allergy immunotherapy depends on your provider, insurance and type of immunotherapy. 

Allergy shots are more common in the U.S. than other types of allergy immunotherapy (though sublingual immunotherapy is more common in Europe, particularly France). 

Is at-home allergy immunotherapy more cost-effective than allergy shots?

It depends! Again, it usually depends on your health insurance, the allergy immunotherapy manufacturer and your doctor.

Health insurance doesn’t cover some types of sublingual immunotherapy, though some plans do cover certain sublingual immunotherapy tablets. Some FSA plans cover allergy plans, such as Curex’s prevention-plus plan. 

If you have health insurance, the upfront costs for allergy shots may be lower than at-home immunotherapy costs. If your health insurance covers allergy shots, you may only need to pay a co-pay, or you may not need to pay anything at all!

The biggest downsides to allergy shots include the time investment and possible side effects.

The True Cost of Allergy Shots: Time

Allergy shots are time-and-labor-intensive. Doses are usually administered weekly during the build-up phase and monthly during the maintenance phase. 

Your clinician may ask you to stay for up to 30 minutes after your doses for observation for side effects including anaphylaxis.

When considering allergy shots you should ask yourself if you can really steal away from work or home for the time it takes to get your allergy shot, commute to and from the clinician’s office and tack on up to 30 minutes for observation after your appointment. 

Since it takes 6 to 24 months for immunotherapy to work, this is a major time commitment.

Is allergy immunotherapy less expensive than allergy medication?

Not necessarily — though it can be over time.

Depending on your allergy medication, the severity of your symptoms and your allergy symptoms triggers, you may end up spending more on allergy medication than you do on allergy immunotherapy.

Since there are several different types of allergy immunotherapy (we’ll get to that later!), it’s difficult to determine what is more expensive: allergy medication or immunotherapy. Other factors may also lessen the cost of allergy medication or allergy immunotherapy, too, such as whether or not you have health insurance and your health insurance plan, copay, out-of-pocket costs, and more.

Also, allergy immunotherapy doesn’t always mean that you will not ever spend on allergy medications. For some, it can lead to a resolution of symptoms. For others, it might be that symptoms are less intense and fewer medications are needed only once in a while. 

What we can do is look at the costs of different allergy medications and allergy immunotherapy and what these treatments may cost with or without health insurance.

How much does over-the-counter allergy medication cost?

Over-the-counter allergy medication costs vary, depending on the type of medication and the manufacturer.

Most prescription allergy medications are also available over the counter, too. Depending on your health insurance, you may end up paying less out of pocket if you purchase over-the-counter medications.

The most common over-the-counter allergy medications include antihistamines (oral tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops), steroid nasal sprays, and saline sprays and drops. 

Many name-brand allergy medications cost around $20 a month.

Side effects such as drowsiness can be one of the main downsides to using allergy medications.

Antihistamine Costs

Antihistamine costs vary, depending on the type of antihistamine. There are several popular antihistamine brands and types available, including Claritin (Loratadine), Zyrtec (Cetirizine HCl), Allegra (Fexofenadine Hydrochloride), and Xyzal (Levocetirizine). 

These are all also available as generic medications for a fraction of the cost of the brand-name antihistamines.  

You don’t need a prescription to purchase any of these antihistamines, though your doctor may still write a prescription for a different antihistamine, and your doctor can guide you about which antihistamine might be best for your symptoms.

Most over-the-counter brand-name antihistamines cost between $17 and $20 for a 30-day supply. 

The following prices are approximate; medications may cost more or less, depending on the retailer, sales, coupons, etc.

Claritin (Loratadine)

$19.99 for 30 tablets ($0.67/tablet)

Zyrtec (Cetirizine HCl)

$18.99 for 30 tablets ($0.63/tablet)

Allegra (Fexofenadine Hydrochloride)

$17.99 for 30 tablets ($0.60/tablet)

Xyzal (Levocetirizine)

$35.49 for 80 tablets ($0.44/tablet)

Generic Brand Antihistamines

Generic antihistamines usually cost anywhere between $3.99 and $6.99 per bottle. 

Steroid Nasal Sprays

Several steroid nasal sprays are available both over the counter and with a prescription.


$14.99 for 72 sprays


$17.99 for 120 sprays

Decongestant Prices

Decongestants range in price from $4 to $20, depending on the brand, dosage, and product count. 

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These medications are generally available over the counter, but your provider may also write a prescription for a stronger decongestant. 

Decongestants are also used in combination with antihistamine-decongestant pills your provider may recommend for chronic or acute nasal congestion, sinus pressure or postnasal drip. 

Asthma-Related Medication Costs

People with asthma also often suffer from allergies because asthma is part of the spectrum of allergy diseases. 

Inhalers Costs

The cost of bronchodilator and asthma inhalers such as Albuterol, Flovent, Symbicort and Advair, can vary based on your prescription medicine insurance plan. If you have pharmacy benefits, the cost can be up to several hundred dollars for one inhaler. Their generic counterparts cost between $30 and $75 per inhaler. 

Anti-Inflammatory Tablets 

Anti-inflammatory tablets, such as montelukast cost a little more than $10 for a 30-day supply of 10 mg tablets. 

Singulair, the brand name of montelukast tablets, can cost nearly $250 for a 30-day supply of 10 mg tablets. 

Again costs can vary based on your individual benefits. 

Does prescription allergy medication cost more?

Not necessarily. This depends on the medication and your health insurance plan.

Many insurance companies cover the cost of some common generic prescription medications, such as antihistamines and nasal sprays. You may only need to pay your co-pay when purchasing these medications with insurance. If you don’t pay a co-pay for medications and your allergy medication is covered, you won’t need to pay anything!

Many patients prefer to get a prescription for allergy medication because their health insurance covers these meds. 

Allergy Testing Costs

Before starting allergy treatments, your health care provider will test you to identify your allergic triggers. You may be allergic to both indoor and outdoor allergens. 

There are two ways to detect allergies, including blood and skin scratch tests. Skin scratch tests are performed in a provider’s office by a medical professional, while blood tests may be performed at home or in a clinical lab.

Depending on your insurance, deductible and out-of-pocket expenses, you may need to pay for these tests which can cost a few hundred dollars depending on how many tests your health care provider does or orders. 

At-Home Allergy Self-Test Kits

One of the most affordable and convenient types of allergy tests is an at-home allergy self-test kit. 

Curex’s at-home allergy self-test can detect up to 36 of the most common indoor and outdoor allergens. 

The at-home self-test kit by Curex costs between $129 and $179. 

Since you order the kit online and the kit is mailed to your home, you don’t need to spend the time it would take to commute to an allergist’s office or a clinical lab for testing. After you’ve taken your samples, simply mail them to the lab.

There is a two-week turnaround on Curex’s at-home allergy self-test kit results. 

The downside? You’ll need to collect your sample (10 drops of blood) with the included lancets. While this may be fine for some, those with a fear of needles may not feel comfortable collecting their own samples. 

Skin Scratch Tests

Skin scratch tests may be performed at a health care provider’s office. Small amounts of allergens are placed and lightly scratched onto the skin and monitored for reactions. 

The costs of these tests can vary, depending on whether or not you have health insurance, your health insurance plan, and your medical provider.

If you have health insurance, you could pay as little as nothing for the test if you have no out-of-pocket expenses and the tests are covered by your insurance, (but again, this depends on your health insurance plan). If you don’t have health insurance, you could pay up to $300 or more for the testing depending on how many tests your provider does (not including the cost for the consultation).

Clinical Labs

Blood tests, such as ImmunoCAP and Immulite tests are highly accurate. These tests are FDA-approved and detect the most common indoor and outdoor allergens.

If you don’t have health insurance, blood tests may cost up to $1,000. If you do have health insurance, they may start at $25 plus your copay (again, depending on your plan). 

You also may need to travel to a clinical lab (Quest, LabCorp, etc.) for the blood draw, which also takes time. 

Turnaround time is usually at least three to five days. 

At-Home Concierge Allergy Testing

Another option if you don’t want to do a skin scratch test or go to a clinical lab for a blood draw is an at-home concierge blood test. 

Curex’s FDA-cleared ImmunoCAP at-home concierge blood test is performed in your home or office by a phlebotomist. It tests for the 25 most common allergens, and more allergens can be added.

Like a blood test performed in a clinical lab, the at-home ImmunoCAP test reports total IgE and specific allergen IgE.

Results are available in three to five days. 

Curex’s at-home concierge test is normally priced at $199, but Curex is offering a steep discount through the end of January, with this VIP concierge allergy test available at $49 through January 31, 2022. 

Allergy Immunotherapy Costs

Unlike most allergy medications, such as antihistamines and nasal sprays, allergy immunotherapy doesn’t just treat the symptoms of allergies. 

Small amounts of allergens are introduced to the body, training your body’s immune system to develop a resistance to them. 

Allergy immunotherapy is available sublingually or subcutaneously, and costs vary between the different types of immunotherapy. 

How much do allergy shots cost?

Allergy shots may be covered completely by your insurance or can cost between $10 and $75 per visit depending on your health care provider and copay. Again, this all depends on your health insurance plan, copay and deductible. If you don’t have health insurance, the costs may be higher.

Since allergy shots must be administered by a medical professional, one of the major costs of subcutaneous immunotherapy can be the copay if he or she charges one for allergy shots, and the time spent commuting to and from a clinician’s office. 

Allergy shots are administered usually once a week during the build-up phase (and monthly during the maintenance phase). Once on maintenance shots, the recommended treatment time is three to five years. The time spent getting the shots and remaining in the office for supervision can really add up!

And if you miss a dose or if you develop a reaction? Your provider will have to scale back on your dose and build you back up, meaning the whole process may take even longer. 

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Dog and Cat Allergy Shots Costs

Allergy shots for pet allergies cost about the same as allergy shots for pollen, pests and grasses.

Typically these allergens can be mixed together and given together in one or more shots. 

Depending on which allergens you and your medical provider are targeting, it could cost up to $75 per visit without insurance.  

Sublingual Allergy Immunotherapy Costs

Sublingual allergy immunotherapy costs between $65 per month and $150 per month depending on the type of sublingual therapy and your insurance. Sublingual tablets may be less if covered by your insurance. 

One of the benefits of sublingual allergy immunotherapy is that this type of immunotherapy may be self-administered at home. Since anaphylaxis is rarer with sublingual allergy immunotherapy, you may not need to administer the doses under the supervision of a medical professional.

Sublingual allergy immunotherapy is administered once a day. Missing a dose may not set you back as much as missing doses of subcutaneous allergy immunotherapy, either. If you miss a dose, touch base with your allergy provider about the next steps, but usually you will simply resume your daily medication. 

Curex’s prevention-plus plan starts at $75 per month. Receive immunotherapy medication with free allergy testing at home; talk or text with your clinician, as needed, and get access to low allergy, asthma and eczema medication prices and delivery.

Get a long-term solution to your allergy or asthma symptoms with at-home immunotherapy for $75 per month. You can get started by taking our free quiz, or chatting with a care manager, to answer any questions you might have.

— Update: 03-03-2023 — found an additional article Cat Allergy Shots (Do They Work? Cost?) from the website for the keyword how much are cat allergy shots.

(I may earn a small commission on the products linked to in this post.)

If you’ve read other articles on my allergy blog, you know that I’ve suffered from allergies for decades. The allergy symptoms I experienced were present as a child, however, it wasn’t until I was an adult that I was tested for almost 100 allergens, with almost a showing a positive reaction.

Cat allergy, among many others, appeared as a strong reaction on my allergy test. Throughout my life I had infrequently been around cats so it wasn’t an allergy I was worried about.  On the few occasions I was around cats, I definitely noticed an increase in symptoms for several days after my exposure.

Below, I’ll share more about symptoms of cat allergy, as well as my thoughts on how well they work and allergy shots cost.

Cat Allergy

Approximately 10% of the U.S. population experiences pet allergies. Cats, because they are a popular household pet, make up a large percentage of pet allergies.

Cats tend to live indoors where they share space with humans (think couches, beds, carpets, and chairs). They keep themselves very clean but long-haired breeds can shed quite a bit.

Some cats are social, while others hide and are rarely seen. In either case, the hair and skin that they shed, also known as dander, can cause health problems for their housemates.

One of the reasons cat allergy is so problematic is due to the size of the allergy-causing protein. Cat allergens are microscopic, measuring only 2.5-10 microns. You may see cat hair around the house, but you won’t actually see the allergy-causing protien. It’s invisible without a microscope.

Because of the allergen’s size and weight, it can be stirred up rather easily. A ceiling fan or someone walking down a hallway can cause cat allergens to become airborne where they can remain suspended in air for hours.

Symptoms of Cat Allergy May Include:

  • Congestion of the nose and ears
  • Red, itchy, or watery eyes
  • Eczema
  • Rashes
  • Post nasal drip
  • Asthma
  • Dry cough

I often experienced a congested nose and a worsening of eczema. The nasal congestion led to nights of poor sleep and I’d wake up fatigued.

Do Allergy Shots Work For Cat Allergies

In my experience, allergy shots for cat allergies work great! My allergic reaction to cats has disappeared since I began allergy shots several years ago.

My weekly, then monthly, shots also contained allergen extracts from dogs and other household pets that I tested positive for. It’s important to understand a few things:

  1. Most allergic individuals are allergic to several things (if you’re only allergic to 1 thing consider yourself lucky)
  2. A single allergy shot can contain a mixture of allergy proteins for several animals, so you usually need only one shot for several pets.
  3. Allergy shots contain the allergens you are allergic to. Over time, your allergist increases the dose of allergen extract and you build tolerance. Compared to other medicine, cat allergy shots are a more natural way to treat allergies.

Length of time

What discourages most people from getting allergy shots is the amount of time required.  Allergy shots often cure allergic disease, however, improvement takes place over a period of years.

My allergies were severe enough that antihistamines weren’t enough. I had trouble getting through the day.

I didn’t like the idea of weekly injections, but I felt like it was my only option. I decided to get allergy injections knowing that it would be a long-term investment in my health and I wasn’t disappointed.

Are Cat Allergy Shots Painful

We’ve all experienced getting a shot at a doctor’s office. They aren’t enjoyable and sometimes they are painful. It really depends on the type of injection we receive.

Certain shots are meant to go into the muscle while others remain in the superficial layers of skin. Some shots use thick needles while others are small.

When I began allergy shots, I was thankful to see a tiny needle that was to be inserted in the fatty tissue of my skin. It wasn’t as painful as I expected and over time I became used to the process (check out my article on the side effects of allergy shots).

How Much Do Cat Allergy Shots Cost

Another reason people decide against allergy shots is due to the price. Most insurance policies will cover a percentage of allergy immunotherapy. If you have excellent health insurance, they will cover the majority of the cost.

Allergy injections become expensive when they are out of pocket.

When I was without health insurance, I paid $1000 every few months for treatment. With insurance I only pay about $90 every few months.  The difference is night and day! The initial allergy test with a doctor consultation can cost $1500 and yearly check-ups are required.

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Alternatives To Cat Allergy Shots

If your cat allergy symptoms are mild, you might be wondering what you can do on your own, without having to use injections. If you have a cat at home it will be difficult to avoid the allergy-causing proteins, even if you clean religiously.

Carpets and fabric furniture catch and hold onto dirts and dust. Even if you’re using the best HEPA vacuum on the market (the Dyson), you won’t be able to clean all the dust in your carpets and couches. If possible, use hard flooring like tile, wood, or linoleum and opt for leather or sythetic leather furniture instead of fabric. Hard floors and leather are much easier to clean and maintain when it comes to dust and dirt.

You can also choose to keep cats out of the bedroom. Let them roam the rest of your house but reserve the bedroom for humans. You’ll be spending 8 hours a night sleeping there so if it’s free from cat allergens, you’ll likely sleep better. While you’re in the bedroom, cover your mattress and pillows with Mission Allergy’s dust mite covers. Mission Allergy is the best on the market and breathable so you’ll sleep well and protect yourself from cat and dust mite allergens.

Lastly, consider using HVAC filters with a high MERV rating. Most HVAC filters you’ll find at the hardware store are more basic. 3M and Nordic Pure have several high-quality filters that actually clean the air in your home when they are running. One of my best tips is to let the fan run a few hours each day. The fan doesn’t use much electricity and it will filter much of the air in a home just like an air purifier.


Bottom line, cat allergy shots work well for people with serious allergies. Though the easiest option is to avoid cats, some people prioritize their furry creatures and opt to get allergy shots.

It’s important to know that allergy immunotherapy for cats (and other pets) take time. It might take a full year to recognize improvements. For this reason I always recommend people be patient and take a long term outlook on cat allergy shots.

It took me 2 full years to see an allergy test with no reaction to cats (though I still react to other allergens after 5 years).

The therapy isn’t painful, though it could be an inconvenience to people with busy schedules.  It also costs a significant amount of money if you have the minimum health insurance coverage. If you have good health care insurance, I’d recommend making an appointment with an allergist and learning more about the process.

Cats are wonderful companions but don’t let an allergy make you ill. If antihistamines aren’t providing relief, consider allergy shots which can actually cure your symptoms!

— Update: 18-03-2023 — found an additional article How Much Do Allergy Shots Cost Without Insurance in 2023? from the website for the keyword how much are cat allergy shots.

Allergy shots are a long-term treatment for individuals who have chronic allergies. Allergy shots are a type of immunotherapy that uses your immune system to fight off disease. Most of the time, allergy shots are covered by health insurance, but for uninsured patients, allergy shots can range from $20-$100 per visit

Before you decide to get allergy shots, consult with your primary care provider for a proper workup and evaluation. For as low as $25 a month, Mira can provide you with in-person and virtual consultations. Additionally, Mira offers affordable laboratory testing and prescription medications. Sign up for Mira today! 

The Costs of Allergy Shots 

Allergy shots are usually used for building tolerance to pollen, dust, pet dander, and molds. For uninsured patients, an allergy shot will have two major costs: the allergy serum and the administration of the shot. The allergy serum will typically cost around $100, and the preparation/administration costs can range from $20-100 per visit. Since these shots are dosed weekly, the annual cost can range from $1,000 to $4,000 per year. As more time passes, the frequency of your allergy shots will decrease, and your costs will also decrease as a result. 

Cost of Allergy Shots Based on Location

Depending on your location and your facility, the costs of allergy shots for uninsured individuals can differ drastically. The chart below compares allergy shot prices across the U.S. 

Facility LocationAverage Out-of-Pocket Costs 

NY Allergy & Sinus Centers

Manhattan Allergy Centers 

New York, NY $1,000-4,000 annually 
Allergy Associates of La Crosse Onalaska, WI$700-850 for the first visit, price drops for return visits 
Cure Allergy Clinic Arlington, TX $610 for the first year, $300 for following years 
West Side Head and Neck Santa Monica, CA $1,000-4,000 annually 
Primer Allergist Annapolis, MD $598-1794 annually 

Allergy Shots Dosing

Allergy immunotherapy can be administered via two major routes: subcutaneous (SCIT) or sublingual (SLIT). Allergy shots are administered via the SCIT route. Essentially, the serum for these shots contains trace amounts of your allergen, and as the dose gradually increases over time, your body becomes desensitized to the allergen. This allows you to develop immunity over time. However, a drawback is that allergy shots often need years before immunity is achieved. 

The process of building allergy immunity involves two main phases: 

  • Buildup phase: During the building phase, shots are given 1-3 times a week, and the dose of the allergen gradually increases with each injection. This phase typically lasts 3-6 months.
  • Maintenance phase: The maintenance phase is more long-term. However, the dosing will gradually decline to about once a month during this phase. This phase typically will last at least 3-5 years.

It is important to note that improvements are slow and generally unnoticeable until the second year. Additionally, the dosing period can differ from person to person based on several factors. These factors include: 

  • Severity of the disease
  • Adverse effects
  • Patient preference
  • Treatment convenience
  • Price

Cost of Administration 

Allergy shots can be self-administered by patients at home. As long as the patient is adequately trained with all the appropriate safety procedures, they can administer their shots without a fee. On average, allergy shot administration at a clinic can range from $10-30 per shot. 

While talking allergy shots, you are still free to take your current allergy medications, such as over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl, Claritin, or Zyrtec. Hydrocortisone cream or ice can also be used to reduce swelling at the injection site. 

The Pros and Cons of Allergy Shots 

Allergy shots are not always necessary for every patient. Below are some advantages and disadvantages of allergy shots to help you decide if this treatment is right for you. 


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About the Author: Tung Chi