Springtime blooms with beautifully colored flowers, leafy green trees, and a treacherous breeze that makes you sneeze! According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology , allergies affect about 30% of adults and 40% of children. Luckily the drug companies are looking out for you!
Three new medications have recently been approved by the FDA for seasonal allergies! The hot details can be found on the modern medicine website. All 3 of these medications, manufactured by 2 different big-box pharmaceutical companies, work in a very similar manner to each other with small differences which I will explain. For each of these medications, separate clinical trials were conducted to show benefit for patients suffering from hay fever. Here are the details.
1) Oralair (Stallergenes S.A.)
First we have a drug called Oralair. Oralair uses small amounts of 5 different hay fever causing grasses. This drug is the first approved by the FDA of its kind which could make it historical. It is approved for hay fever with or without involvement of the eyes (allergic conjunctivitis) in patients aged 10-65. This medication is delivered sublingually (under the tongue).
2) Ragwitek (Merck, Sharp & Dohme)
Second we have Regwitek, which is approved to treat short term hay fever caused by ragweed with or without eye inflammation in patients 18-65. Again, this medication is administered sublingually. The primary difference is this drug is for use short term over the course of the 12 week ragweed season.
3) Timothy Grass pollen allergen extract tablet for sublingual use/Grastek (Merck)
Last but not least, we have a drug called Grastek. Once again the drug has been approved for grass-pollen induced allergic rhinitis with or without eye inflammation in patients aged 5-65 years old.
What are the dangers? All of these drugs are designed to desensitize your body’s allergic response to a particular allergen. Therefore, all of these drugs have warnings for first time administration allergic response. All three of these drugs should be administered under direct medical supervision in the physicians office for first time use. The third drug listed also has a requirement for the patient to have epinephrine at home, but my professional advice would be to have epinephrine injections at home in all cases.
Overall, I feel this is exciting news for those of us with allergies. Full effectiveness and safety of these drugs will not be well known until they have been in the market for some time, as with any newly released drug. A cure for allergies? Not a cure yet, but the new drug approvals are certainly exciting and may finally be a solution to that sneeze in the breeze!
Sources: Drug Topics of Modern Medicine, American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology