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New allergy drops claim to be safer

August 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Allergy season is here and wreaking havoc on those who want to enjoy the outdoors. Between 40 and 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Traditional treatment with over-the-counter or prescription meds and allergy shots work for some, but soon there may soon be a more convenient way to attack allergies.Nothing slows Teresa Pradhan down until her allergies kick in.

"You can't breathe and you get a runny nose," said Pradhan.

She tried dozens of over-the-counter meds for ragweed allergies, but her body built up a resistance, and she didn't want shots.

"Most people don't particularly like shots," said Vanderbilt University professor Dr. John Fahrenholz.

Some need more than 40 injections in a six-month period, and there's a high drop out rate.

"It probably approaches at least 50 percent," said Dr. Fahrenholz.

Teresa is part of a trial testing drops instead shots to treat ragweed allergies. One drop a day under the tongue.

"European studies suggest that it's safer, fewer reactions to the drops compared to receiving shots, and it's convenient," said Dr. Fahrenholz.

Many people seem to think that allergies generally start at childhood. Not true. Adult on-set allergies are becoming more common, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Another myth is that allergies go away after the first frost.

The ACAAI says that grass and ragweed might fade, but mold, dust and animal dander last all year.

Also if you think staying inside is the best way to avoid pollen allergies, it's not. If you know what to avoid, being outdoors shouldn't be a problem.

During the trial for the drops Teresa found relief.

"It's great. It's like you can breathe. You can run around," said Pradhan.

The allergy drops are not FDA approved for this use, but some doctors are prescribing them off-label. They have been approved for use in Europe for several years.

The most common side effects for the drops are itching under the tongue and stomach aches. If results of the trial are successful in the U.S. the drops could be available in the next few years.

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