New products available for allergy treatment
May 14, 2014
By Marlene Peng, MD
Allergist, Minor & James
For those with seasonal allergies, treatment can be as simple as an over-the-counter medication, but often requires more. The good news is that there are a lot of options now. Some new products have been recently approved by the FDA to help individuals who are dealing with grass and ragweed allergies.
The treatment of nasal and eye symptoms from allergies includes antihistamines, nasal sprays and allergy shots. Over the counter antihistamines include diphenhydramine (ex. Benadryl), loratadine (ex. Claritin), cetirizine (ex. Zyrtec), or fexofenadine (ex. Allegra). Over the counter allergy eye drops are also available, such as ketotifen (ex.Zaditor). Together, these help with itchy, sneezy, watery nose and eyes. Nasal antihistamines are prescription and also help with these symptoms. Nasal steroids help decrease congestion and postnasal drip.
A long-standing solution for those with multiple allergies is allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. Each injection is customizable to an individual’s allergies. Allergy shots are not just for immediate symptomatic treatment, but also change an individual’s immune reaction to the allergens in the long term.
Dissolvable tablets have just been approved by the FDA for immunotherapy for grass and ragweed allergies. The benefit to these compared to shots is that they can be taken at home and there is less risk of an allergic reaction; however, they are not useful for people who are allergic to more than just grass or ragweed. For those that only have problems with these pollens, dissolvable tablets may be just what they need.
Treatment for allergies is multi-fold. The best treatment is avoidance, but that often cannot be done. Antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays can treat sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and congestion. Allergen immunotherapy will help minimize the reaction whether with recently approved grass and ragweed tablets or customizable shots for those with multiple allergies.