April 12, 2019
If you are one of the 50 million people in America who suffers from seasonal allergies, you probably don’t need anybody to tell you that pollen season is here. You have been sneezing and sniffling and scratching for weeks. But what you might want to hear about is a new immunotherapy treatment in the form of a tablet that has been identified as a promising alternative to over-the-counter medicines and injections.
According to an April 11 report by ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, the new immunotherapy treatment is seen by many professionals as a breakthrough in allergy treatment. A survey by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has revealed that 73% of allergists are now offering these tablets as an effective at-home regimen.
There are typically a couple of ways in which allergy sufferers can “head off” their symptoms, according to ABC News’ Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton—either by controlling their environment (reducing the allergens that cause symptoms) or by trying medications that will block allergic responses.
In comparison to these short-term solutions, the new tablets change the immune system’s response to allergens. Patients take increasing doses of the allergens to help build up tolerance.
Indeed, the new tablet immunotherapy could be a good option for those who are already taking the immunotherapy shots, as they offer similar benefits in the form of relieving symptoms, according to Ashton.
The biggest difference between the two is that you can administer the tablets at home rather than having to go to the doctor’s office, although tablets are medication that needs to be prescribed by a doctor.
The only bad news is that, while allergy tablets do not require repeated visits to a doctor’s office, they do require strict compliance and may require up to three years of use to work.
The tablets also cannot be used by all patients, including those with severe or uncontrolled asthma. Additionally, the tablets will only take care of individual allergens, so you would need to take one tablet for each allergen that you react to. By comparison, shots are capable of taking care of multiple allergens at once.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved allergy tablets so far for only four allergens.
Research contact: @DrJAshton