Grass Pollen Allergy Relief is Around the Corner

Grazax reduced grass pollen symptoms like hay fever for two years after treatment

(RxWiki News) A grass pollen allergy can wreak havoc during the summer season. A new treatment may soon provide long-term relief for many allergy sufferers.

Grazax, an immunotherapy tablet, has been proven to be safe and effective in providing long-term relief from grass pollen allergy symptoms. Grazax helped reduce the number of symptoms for up to two years after completing treatment.

"Talk to your doctor about available treatments for seasonal allergies."

The study was led by Stephen R. Durham, M.D., from the Section of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College and Royal Brompton Hospital in London. The clinical trial lasted for five years and included 238 participants.

Allergy symptoms, medication usage, quality of life, severe symptom days and safety were all measure during the trial.

Grazax is a pill taken under the tongue. It uses a grass extract to help create the tolerance against grass pollen allergies and is currently approved for use in Europe.

Immunotherapy is when a person becomes vaccinated to a disease by being exposed to a small dose of the actual disease. The annual flu shot is an example of immunotherapy. The process changes how the immune system reacts to the disease thus preventing or reducing the symptoms.

Grazax would be a valuable treatment for grass pollen allergies because it can reduce symptoms for years which means less medication, less days of severe symptoms and better quality of life.

The clinical trial was a double-blind study that lasted for three years with two years of follow-up covering five allergy seasons. A double-blind study is when researchers and participants do not know if they received a placebo or the treatment until after the data is collected. In this case, one group receiving Grazax and the other group given a placebo for three years. Participants had a history of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, or hay fever, that was not controlled by medication.

Hay fever was reduced by 25 to 36 percent in the group using Grazax when compared to the placebo group during the five allergy seasons. The number of days of severe symptoms due to high grass pollen counts was reduced by 49 to 63 percent in the Grazax group when compared to the placebo group. There were no safety concerns and these improvements lasted for two years after the end of the treatment.

Researchers conclude that Grazax is an effective immunotherapy treatment for grass pollen allergies. That's good news for grass pollen allergy sufferers but it won't be available immediately. MERCK, a pharmaceutical company, has already submitted an approval request in Canada and is expected to register Grazax for use in America in 2013.

Immunotherapy can provide allergy sufferers with years of relief. With future immunotherapy studies and tests can help develop treatments for other allergies like tree pollen.

Funding was provided by  ALK, Denmark, who is the manufacturer of Grazax in Europe.

This study was published in the March edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Review Date: 
March 2, 2012