New ragweed, grass pollen allergy pills clear FDA - FOX 32 News Chicago

New ragweed, grass pollen allergy pills clear FDA

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The start to allergy season is upon us. For those who suffer from grass pollen or even ragweed allergies, there may be new options to help you.

The FDA approved a tablet that may all together relive your symptoms.

Matthew Lee suffers from grass allergies. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Chicago 53rd in this year's 100 most challenging places to live with spring allergies.

Although it arrived a bit later this year, it leaves some to wonder if allergy season will be even worse.

"Some people believe and predict that because things were delayed then there's all of a sudden a burst of energy from the trees and the plants and the grasses that they produce a lot of pollen in a hurry," Dr. Robert Naclerio, Head and Neck Surgery Chief at the University of Chicago says.

Now, there could be a form of long term relief. The Food and Drug Administration approved two of Merck's dissolvable tablets: one for grass pollen –- Grastek -- the other for ragweed -- Ragwitek.

Most allergy medications treat the symptoms, but when you stop taking them, they come back. Doctors say that's not the case with immunotherapy pills.

“You treat and then after a period of time, you've changed the natural history of the disease,” Naclerio explains. “So now, the person doesn't have symptoms, doesn't take treatment, so that's the beauty of that."

For people like Lee, this kind of pill could help him do things he can't during allergy season.

"I could play more golf,” Lee beams. “I like to play a lot of golf, but it's just surrounded by grass. And so probably going through without having to itch my eyes all the time."

These pills are not a quick fix. You must take the grass allergy pill 12 to 15 weeks before spring. If you're allergic to ragweed, doctors say you should start taking that pill now for it to help you in the fall.

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