Thursday, June 12, 2014
MetroHealth Offers Easy Under-The-Tongue Ragweed Allergy Treatment
The MetroHealth System is one of the first hospitals in the region to offer tablets easily administered under the tongue, and covered by many insurance providers, rather than the decades-old practice of injections, to help alleviate ragweed allergies.
On April 17, Ragwitek became the first sublingual treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration for ragweed allergies. Unlike the drops which MetroHealth has administered for years, Ragwitek is covered by many insurance providers.
Treatment begins with an office visit to determine the exact dose and to gauge a patient’s initial reaction. The patient can then have the prescription filled and self-administer the medication on a daily basis. The medication is generally taken for 12 weeks prior to ragweed allergy season, so enrollment should begin immediately for 2014.
Up to 30 percent of U.S. adults and nearly 40 percent of U.S. children suffer from hay fever, which commonly stems from ragweed allergies.
MetroHealth is also offering Grastek to patients, a tablet for grass allergies that offers benefits over Oralair, which was released earlier this year. Grastek requires a shorter start-up time to be effective and can be used by children over the age of five. It also is covered by most insurance companies, though patients are advised to confirm with their provider beforehand.
“This is an additional powerful tool to our toolbelt for treating patients with grass and ragweed allergies,” said Dr. Steven Houser, Director of Rhinology, Sinus and Allergy. “Especially for children or others reluctant to get a shot, we can now offer a relatively painless way to make it through allergy season.”