Nightly News   |  December 11, 2013

FDA examines allergy shot alternatives

On Wednesday, an FDA advisory committee voted that respiratory allergy drug Oralair works and is safe for anybody over the age of 10. They will examine the pill Grastek on Thursday. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back now. our health news tonight is about allergies. one of the most common ailments in the united states . one in five americans has reactions to pollen, dust and other things we breathe in. 2.5 million get allergy shots weekly or monthly. now there is an alternative being considered for approval. no needles, just a pill under your tongue. we get our report from dr. nancy snyderman .

>> reporter: mornings here are always busy getting 7-year-old kaz ready for school. feeding their dog sophia and packing emergency allergy kits. both mother and daughter have severe reactions to ragweed, grass, tree pollen and animal dander and get allergy shots .

>> we have runny nose, coughing, hives.

>> reporter: patients may soon have another option to injections. today a committee met to determine whether to approve two drugs available in europe. they are daily dose pills that dissolve under the tongue.

>> good morning. the two big groups i see that would really benefit from the therapy are very busy people that can't fit a visit to a doctor's office for a shot into their busy schedule and those who are needle averse.

>> reporter: the doctor is a consultant for merck, one of the pills under review. there is a trade-off. the tablets only cover specific grass pollens while shots offer broader projections and can be personalized for an individual. dr. adken says the pills would be more convenient but patients may sacrifice a doctor's supervision.

>> we have to be cautious when patients take medications at home. since allergen therapy runs the risk of allergic reactions you want to make sure patients are educated a about the safety of the medication and especially how to take it properly.

>> reporter: today the advisory committee voted that oeralair works and is safe for anyone over 10. the advisory committee will make a suggestion to the fda. i expect these to be the progression of how to treat allergy patients.

>> dr. nancy snyderman , thank you