Ragweed Allergies - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/27/06

Ragweed Allergies

Ragweed season runs from mid-August through November and this fall, millions of people will be feeling its effects from red, watery eyes to excessive sneezing.

Ragweed produces 100 million tons of pollen every year in the US, but help is on the way. A new drug could make an old theory more tolerable treatment today.

"Rush immunotherapy is a way of administering immunotherapy that condenses a large series of shots in a short period of time," said Dr. Mark Moss, an Allergist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

With standard therapy, patients need weekly shots for up to six months.

With rush immunotherapy, the process builds resistance to allergens in a much faster process. But it's risky because about a third of the time, patients can end up with a severe allergic reaction getting too much of what they're allergic to too fast.

Now, here's what's new. At the University of Wisconsin, they're pre-medicating patients with a drug called Omalizumab before rush immunotherapy to cut down on reaction. 

"They had a five-times lower chance of having a reaction compared to the group that received the rush immunotherapy alone," said Dr. Mark Moss. 

 "I have had three consecutive years of no symptoms. So if you ask me what it has done for me, it has improved my quality of life 100 percent," said Kim Brandt, who has allergies. 

Rush immunotherapy is already an available treatment. Omalizumab is not yet FDA approved.

So, all this is still experimental. But it is a theory that could bring complete relief to some allergies, someday.

Ask your allergist for more details.

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