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Format: 04/16/2014
Format: 04/16/2014


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Allegheny General study finds promise in drops to treat allergies

Monday, February 15th, 2010

By Pohla Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Mark Knochel of Ross had allergy shots as a kid and hated them.

"I don't like needles to begin with," said Mr. Knochel, 36, a family-based mental health clinician at Every Child in East Liberty. "I had to go [to the allergist] because I had to."

But after he grew up he started reaching instead for the Benadryl or some other antihistamine or over-the-counter medication to combat the annoying symptoms of his allergies: itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and itchy nose. Among his allergies are tree pollen, dog and cat dander, dust mites and, in the fall, that killer ragweed.

Then he got a chance to be in a study being conducted at Allegheny General Hospital and three other sites nationwide. It was looking at an alternative to allergy shots to build up an immunity against ragweed called sublingual immunotherapy. In the therapy, also known as SLIT, the patients put small drops of the allergen, meaning the substance to which they react, under the tongue.

As with shots, the patient slowly builds up antibodies to the allergens to ward off the allergic symptoms.

Results of the 2007 study, involving 115 subjects, were published Friday in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The author is David Skoner, director of Asthma and Immunology in the Department of Pediatrics at Allegheny General Hospital and one of the trial team.



To read more, visit the Post-Gazette website.

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