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Grass Allergen Tablets Cut Need for Medication

Completing a preseasonal course of treatment produces the best effect

THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- A once-daily, sublingual grass allergen tablet appears to be safe, well tolerated and effective at reducing symptoms in allergic patients, according to study findings published in the April issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The tablet was developed in order to make immunotherapy easier to deliver and to reduce adverse events.

Stephen R. Durham, M.D., from the National Heart and Lung Institute in London, and colleagues conducted a trial at 55 centers in eight countries. The researchers enrolled 855 adult participants under the age of 65 who had a self-reported history of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis induced by grass pollen, a positive skin-prick test and elevated serum allergen-specific IgE to Phleum pratense. The subjects were randomized to receive 2500, 25,000, or 75,000 standardized quality tablets (SQ-T) or placebo for a mean treatment duration of 18 weeks. The study was supported by the tablet's Horsholm, Denmark-based manufacturer, ALK-Abello.

Subjects who received the highest-dose tablet showed a 16 percent reduction in symptoms and a 28 percent reduction in medication use compared to those in the placebo group. They also had better quality-of-life scores and more well days. The tablet showed the greatest efficacy in subjects who completed preseasonal treatment for at least eight weeks before the grass allergy season began. No safety problems were observed.

"For patients with grass pollen allergy, sublingual immunotherapy is well tolerated and can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life," the authors conclude.

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