March 04, 2012

Pill Rather than Allergy Shots for Ragweed

If all goes well, in 2013 there will be a pill a patient can take rather than allergy shots to tone down the immune response to not only grasses (Grazax), but also ragweed.

The active ingredient in this ragweed pill is Ambrosia artemisifolia, the chemical found within ragweed that causes allergy symptoms.

Phase III trials with this pill taken once/day for 52 weeks conducted by Merck show a significant improvement in allergy symptoms by nearly 25%. Use of allergy medications like anti-histamines and steroid nasal sprays decreased by about 40%.

Just as in allergy shots, it is felt that repeated exposure to the actual allergen will induce immune tolerance. As such, rather than treating the symptoms as with anti-histamines, this medication will theoretically prevent the allergy from appearing in the first place.

Of course, side effects were present and akin to allergies it is supposed to prevent.

There is no published data yet, but results were presented at the 2012 AAAAI meeting.

New allergy pill may tame ragweed symptoms. MSNBC 3/4/12
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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