FDA Approves Two New Pills for Ragweed and Grass Allergies

Millions of Americans may be able to breathe easier this allergy season.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved two new prescription medications, Grastek and Ragwitek, so some allergy sufferers may enjoy the outdoors without enduring the runny or itchy nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion as well as itchy and watery eyes most often associated with allergy season.

Grastek is the first under-the-tongue (sublingual) allergy immunotherapy tablet approved for use in the United States. Available by prescription only, Grastek is used to treat Timothy grass and related grass pollen allergies.

Similarly, Ragwitek is a recent addition to the prescription treatment market for those who suffer with ragweed allergy.  Also an under-the-tongue treatment, Ragwitek can help treat the symptoms of hay fever.

Neither pill treats all seasonal allergens, like mold and tree allergies, nor other common allergens, including pet dander or dust mite.  These new medications are formulated to only treat specific allergens but have been proven in clinical trials to significantly reduce the symptoms of grass or ragweed allergy with regular use.

For best results, Grastek should be started about three months before the start of grass pollen season and should be taken throughout that season.  Similarly, Ragwitek should be started three months prior to the beginning of ragweed season and continued throughout the season.  Neither Grastek nor Ragwitek provide immediate relief for the symptoms of grass or ragweed allergy.  In order for these medications to be effective, they must be taken every day over the course of months or years.

Although both Grastek and Ragwitek are typically taken at home, the first dose of either medication is administered in your Allergist’s office.  This is because it is important for any patient taking Grastek or Ragwitek for the first time to be observed for at least 30 minutes after taking the medication to make sure there are no symptoms of a serious allergic reaction.

Allergy & Asthma Clinics of Ohio is pleased to be able to offer this treatment option for our patients.  Schedule an appointment with our Columbus, Ohio allergists as soon as possible to see if these new medications might be right for you.

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