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Charleston Allergy and Asthma Blog

Allergy sufferers look to needle-free treatment for symptoms

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Traditionally, allergic rhinitis has been treated with incremental increased dosing of inhalant allergens to which the patient is sensitive, given subcutaneous injection (“allergy shots”). This subcutaneous (SC) immunotherapy has been used safely and successfully for over 100 years and is currently seen as the gold standard for allergy treatment.

Although SC immunotherapy is minimally painful, many patients, particularly children, would prefer an oral alternative which they might take at home instead of in the allergist office. Attempts began in Europe to formulate effective oral versions of allergy extract immunotherapy and European allergists have documented some success.

Oral Immunotherapy has quite a bit of appeal because needles are avoided and doses can be administered at home. Documentation of the effectiveness of this therapy has been ongoing in the United States and safety and efficacy has been demonstrated in several recent studies. The FDA has just approved two oral (sublingual) grass pollen products for use in the US.

These products have not been made available for prescribing at this time although we anticipate availability soon. No oral products are yet approved for trees, weeds, animal protein, dust mite, cockroach, or mold spores. As these new oral products will only be effective for individuals with isolated grass pollen allergy, individuals who are sensitized to multiple types of inhalant allergens would not benefit from this therapy.

We do anticipate the availability of additional oral allergens such as dust mite in the future. The availability to these new and future products will add to our arsenal of immunotherapy alternatives for our allergy patients.</div>

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