FDA approves new ragweed allergy pill

Just in time for allergy season the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new oral medication to treat ragweed allergy.

The new medication, called Ragwitek, was tested in a study of 1,700 adults who were either given the drug or a placebo. Instructions for the drug entail placing the tablet once a day underneath the tongue, where it dissolves. Researchers found that during one allergy season, the participants who took Ragwitek experienced 26 percent less allergy symptoms than did those who were given the placebo.

The approval of the new drug offers millions of adults who have ragweed pollen allergies an alternative to allergy shots and other treatments, the FDA said. Ragweed allergy—also called hay fever—is one of the more common seasonal allergies. The symptomsm which can be particularly bad in the late summer and early fall, include itchy throat, trouble breathing and sneezing.

In the study, some participants did experience side effects from Ragwitek, including itching and irritation in the mouth, ears and throat. According to the FDA, the Prescribing Information includes a warning that severe allergic reactions, some of which can be life-threatening, can occur. The first dose contains some extract from the ragweed plant and must be taken in a health care professional’s office so that the patient can be observed for at least 30 minutes to ensure there are no adverse reactions. After that, patients can take Ragwitek at home, starting 12 weeks before the start of ragweed pollen season and continuing throughout the season, according to the FDA.

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Sourced from: FDA, FDA approves Ragwitek for short ragweed pollen allergies