Officials at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology said allergy immunotherapy is the first sublingual immunotherapy -- under the tongue -- treatment that works to decrease sensitivity to allergens for those with allergic rhinitis or hay fever, allergic asthma, conjunctivitis or eye allergy, or stinging insect allergy.
Instead of shots that are injected, the two sublingual immunotherapy options, just recommended for approval by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee, are tablets that are placed under the tongue. These particular products are single allergen options, targeted specifically to people who have grass allergies, the group said.
"Allergy immunotherapy is an important treatment for allergic diseases," Dr. Thomas B. Casale, the academy's executive vice president, said in a statement. "Used appropriately and under the guidance of a physician trained in allergy/immunology, sublingual immunotherapy should provide a safe and effective new therapeutic option for the millions of Americans suffering from allergies."
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently published a review that found allergy immunotherapy is safe and effective for treating nasal allergies and mild asthma in adults and children.
"Allergy immunotherapy is the only available treatment for allergic rhinitis that is potentially curative and may prevent the progression from allergic rhinitis -- hay fever -- to asthma," said Dr. Linda Cox, the academy's president. "Gaining FDA-approved forms of sublingual immunotherapy will be huge in terms of treatment options for patients."