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Relieve Ragweed Allergies Without Shots

Tablets Help Relieve Symptoms Such as Runny Nose, Congestion, Watery Eyes

Some Patients Welcome Alternative to Shots

Asked whether the tablets are as effective as shots, Creticos says a head-to-head comparison of the two is needed to really answer the question. 

Mitchell Grayson, MD, an allergy specialist at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, tells WebMD that he welcomes a tablet, as some of his patients find shots annoying or painful. "And the tablets seem to be less likely to cause [life-threatening] reactions than the shots," he says.

One advantage to shots is that many different allergies can be treated at once, Grayson says.

"Most Americans are allergic to many different things, and with injections, you can pretty much cover all of them. So far, the tablets are each directed at different allergies -- one for grass, one for ragweed, for example. That wouldn’t be very convenient for a person with [a lot of] allergies," he says.

Allergy shots typically are taken for about two to five years, after which many people can stop them and feel relief for years afterward, according to Grayson. It's not yet known for how long people will have to take the new tablets.

If approved, the tablets would only have to be taken for four months before, and during the four to six weeks of, ragweed season, Creticos says. They were given for 52 weeks in the study so the researchers could better assess their safety.

About 60 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, also referred to as hay fever and allergic rhinitis.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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