Children who suffer from an allergy to grass have a hard time playing outdoors in the spring and summer, and adults with grass allergies suffer from itchy eyes and sneezing when they mow the grass or even walk outdoors. A grass allergy can also trigger asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals. But there’s good news on the horizon for people with allergies to grass. A new allergy tablet called AIT was recently approved in some European countries and could be making its way to the United States.
A New Treatment for Allergy to Grass?
According to research presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology meeting, this new sublingual tablet proved safe and effective when tested on 345 children between the ages of five and seventeen. Kids who used the AIT tablet experienced fewer allergy symptoms than kids who took a placebo, and it was well tolerated. The most common side effects were an itchy mouth and throat and an increased risk of mouth ulcers.
Most medications used to treat allergy to grass simply relieve the symptoms and have no long-term benefits. The new sublingual AIT tablet is different, because it modifies the immune response to grass by increasing the body’s production of factors that block IgE antibodies, the type of antibody involved in allergic reactions.
Researchers believe that using this allergy-modifying medication for a few seasons might alter the course of the allergy so that medications are no longer needed. And that’s good news for grass allergy sufferers everywhere.
Other Treatments for Allergy to Grass
Antihistamines are commonly used to treat the itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing that kids and adults with grass allergy experience. Unfortunately, these medications have side effects including weight gain, which makes some people reluctant to use them. Nasal steroid sprays work well, but it takes up to two weeks for them to start working.
Immunotherapy for grass allergy involves injecting small amounts of the grass allergen underneath the skin and gradually increasing the dose over time until the body becomes tolerant. This can be expensive, isn’t effective for everyone, and the injections have to be continued for years.
Grass Allergy Treatment: The Bottom Line?
Sublingual AIT tablets have advantages over conventional allergy treatments and may alter the course of the allergy as opposed to just treating the symptoms. Stay tuned for more news about this grass allergy treatment.
Medscape.com. “Grass Allergy Immunotherapy Tablet Shows Promise for Children”