Dry Those (Allergy) Tears

The mere mention of “ragweed” starts noses tingling and hands reaching toward the tissues for about a quarter of Americans. The mid- to late-summer pollen released by maturing ragweed flowers triggers watery eyes; a runny and stuffy nose; itchy nose, eyes and ears; and sneezing. But a new pollen preparation offers hope for relief.

A liquid ragweed pollen extract was well-tolerated and reduced symptoms more than 40 percent for participants in a preliminary study, Creticos Research Group scientists reported at an American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology conference in February. The encouraging results for this liquid, administered once a day under the tongue, were compared with a placebo in the study. Participants were 18 to 55 years old and suffer moderate to severe ragweed allergies without the extract, which builds tolerance to ragweed.

The extract offers an alternative to injections of the allergen, which must be administered in a doctor’s office; after the shots, patients must be watched for allergic reactions in case an anaphylactic reaction occurs and epinephrine is needed. No drug-treatment subjects required epinephrine.

Want to get rid of those annoying ragweed symptoms? Maybe the secret is under the tongue.

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