New pill could replace the need for allergy shots

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email
The FDA has approved an exciting breakthrough for allergy sufferers that could do away with those pesky shots.

The FDA has approved an exciting breakthrough for allergy sufferers that could do away with those pesky shots.

SOUTH BEND, IN (NBC) - Spring is in the air and that means sniffling, sneezing and watery eyes for many. While most of us welcome warm temperatures, for allergy sufferers it sends their symptoms into overdrive.

Unfortunately, our harsh winter means this could be our worst allergy season on record.

The FDA has approved an exciting breakthrough for allergy sufferers that could do away with those pesky shots.

If you're one of the millions of allergy suffers, like 17-year-old high school junior Alexus Rivers, rolling up your sleeve for an allergy shot is just part of life's routine.

Alexus has dealt with allergies and asthma all her life. Alexus has both indoor and outdoor allergies and is in Dr. Jim Harris's office for shots each week.

But now a new pill called Oralair might replace allergy shots for a lot of people. Dr. Harris says this first pill to replace shots is a major breakthrough.

And the South Bend Clinic was part of the nationwide study that tested Oralair on its patients.

While this particular treatment was tested on those allergic to grass pollens, Dr. Harris says immunotherapy once a day at home in pill form, is a major breakthrough and will undoubtedly help other allergy sufferers like those suffering from food or pet allergies down the road.

Alexus says while she doesn't mind the shots, she'll look forward to that day.

And Dr. Harris says his patients who are candidates are excited.

Dr. Harris says for those with multiple allergies, shots may still be the best thing, but for those suffering from grass and ragweed, they're excited to be able to offer a pill that can be popped at home....and that's nothing to sneeze at.

Oralair will be available to those who suffer from grass pollen allergies next month.

But because patients need to start the pill four months before allergy season many sufferers won't get it in time to ward off early summer symptoms this year, but Dr. Harris says for some it may be worth a try.

He adds it signals a major shift in immunotherapy which is how doctors expose patients to decrease sensitivity, for decades with shots.

Harris is hopeful that Oralair will soon be available for ragweed sufferers and that down the line those with food allergies might also benefit.


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