Washington: A once-daily tablet containing a high dose of a key ragweed pollen protein can offer relief from the runny noses, sneezes, nasal congestion and itchy eyes experienced by ragweed allergy sufferers, a new study suggests.
Tests conducted by an international team of researchers, led by physician-scientists at Johns Hopkins, showed that treatment with the pill, which contains the protein Ambrosia artemisiifolia major allergen 1, and is placed under the tongue to be absorbed, also reduced the need for anti-allergy drugs.
Results of the trial showed that overall symptoms and need for such allergy medications as antihistamines and nasal steroids fell by 27 percent in people who took a pill containing 12 units of the allergen. During peak ragweed season, the roughly two-week period between August and October when pollen counts are highest, symptoms and medication use dropped 24 percent.
Researchers say that if the pill wins approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it could serve as a more convenient, less painful option than weekly or monthly allergy shots. The pill also presents fewer potential side effects than allergen injections.
"Our results show this oral tablet for ragweed allergy is highly effective and well-tolerated, and offers considerable relief from what many allergy sufferers consider the most agonizing part of the year," says allergist and lead study investigator Peter Creticos , M.D.
Creticos says that no adverse events occurred during the study. The only side effects observed were mild throat irritation, itchy tongue and swollen lips.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.