The New, Needle-Free Allergy Treatment
September 1, 2014 | By News & Views
As of this year, allergy sufferers have a new needle-free way to find relief: oral immunotherapy pills for ragweed or grass allergies.
The FDA-approved treatments work like shots, exposing you to small amounts of your triggers over time. “The immune system adapts and blocks the out-of-control response that causes symptoms,” says James Sublett, MD, of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. What to know:
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Just place a pill under your tongue to dissolve. You’re given the first dose in your allergist’s office but can take the rest at home. (Allergy shots must be administered at your doctor’s office.)
They’re better tolerated than shots
Because the tablets aren’t as strong, they may pose a lower risk of serious reactions like anaphylaxis.
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They’re super specific
The pills are for people who have one dominant seasonal allergy to ragweed or certain grasses. Shots can target multiple triggers at once.
They must be taken early
You need to begin the tablets 12 weeks before the start of allergy season. You can start shots four to six weeks before, getting two or three extra doses to build up immunity in less than 12 weeks.