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Sublingual Immunotherapy Approved for Grass Allergies — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 3, 2014

Sublingual Immunotherapy Approved for Grass Allergies

By Kristin J. Kelley

The FDA has approved the first sublingual allergen extract to treat rhinitis — with or without conjunctivitis — caused by grass pollens. The once-daily tablet (Oralair) is indicated for patients aged 10 to 65 years.

The drug contains a mix of five grass pollens: Kentucky Blue Grass, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Sweet Vernal, and Timothy. In studies among some 2500 patients, those taking Oralair had a 16% to 30% reduction in symptoms compared with those on placebo.

The first dose should be administered in a clinician's office (before the start of the grass pollen season) so that the patient can be observed for adverse reactions. The prescribing information includes a boxed warning about potentially life-threatening allergic reactions (e.g., anaphylaxis). The most common side effects include itching and swelling in the mouth, and throat irritation.

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