Medical Technology

Liquid Drops could Make Allergy Shots a Thing of the Past

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"Liquid Drops could Make Allergy Shots a Thing of the Past"
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Folks on the East Coast and in the Midwest might disagree, but Spring is just about in the air. The temperatures will begin to warm up and the sour dispositions brought out by the cold will begin to recede. The world will become a happy place again, but for some, that sentiment might not last too long. That is because Spring will carry something else on its gentle winds, namely a handful of allergens that make life miserable for millions.

For many allergy sufferers, over the counter pills such as Claritin are not enough to combat their raging symptoms. This leads these folks to a doctor's office, where the pain of allergy shots take the place of a pill or nose spray. No one enjoys the prick of a needle, so it leaves allergy sufferers yearning for an easier solution to their ails. Well, some patients in Europe are using a form of relief that could really catch on in the states, if it can get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The European patients are taking a new allergy drops to combat their problems. According to a CNN piece, this treatment is called sublingual immunotherapy, and it has made for some very happy folks who suffer from allergy symptoms. Each drop contains purified allergens, which are carefully dropped under the tongue of the allergy sufferer. No needle is needed, and so far, there has not been reports on any major side effects of this medication.

One way that this new allergy remedy seems to work differently is the fact that a patient takes it more like a vaccine. That means that those taking these drops will want to start them in advance of the coming allergy season. By taking them before the season starts, it helps to build up a sort of barrier against the coming allergies, giving the patient relief, while lessening any other effects that a person might still have.

The problem for people in the United States is that it is not yet available here. The FDA has long been known for having the strictest approval process on the planet, and nothing is different in this case. The enormous interest in the product though has led to a number of clinical trials to be undertaken. A variety of companies are sponsoring their product in these trials, hoping to get the biggest slice of the allergen medicine pie.

According to the CNN piece, John Hopkins has been examining various trials and are noting some interesting findings. Among them are, "researchers found strong evidence that the drops improve asthma symptoms, with eight of 13 studies reporting an improvement of more than 40%. They also found moderate evidence that the drops decrease symptoms of allergic rhinitis - symptoms such as a runny nose or congested sinuses that are similar to those caused by the common cold.  In 16 of 41 studies, allergy medication use decreased significantly among participants taking sublingual immunotherapy."

While researchers want more data before proclaiming that the product is a winner, it gives allergy sufferers hope that in the near future, the need for needles will be a distant memory. 

More about this author: John Atchison

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