What to know about immunotherapy tablet treatments for allergies

Dr. Jennifer Ashton discusses what to know about a promising new allergy treatment that doesn't require any shots.
2:39 | 04/12/19

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Transcript for What to know about immunotherapy tablet treatments for allergies
for our "Gma" health alert, this one for allergy sufferers. More than 50 million Americans battle allergies every year, me ABC news Stephanie Ramos has a look at a new treatment. Reporter: 24-year-old Steven is a lifelong allergy sufferer. I tried getting allergy shots as a kid but my body reacted too much. I wasn't able to continue that. Reporter: Steven is part of a rising number of patients finding relief with immunotherapy tablets, an alternative to the way doctors traditionally treat allergies with weekly or monthly shots. The shots have to be done in the doctor's office, whereas the tablets are safe enough that they can be done from home on a daily basis. Reporter: A new survey from the American college of Iller gee, asthma and immunology shows that 7 3% of allergists now prescribe the tablets to some of their patients. Steven says he's already seeing an improvement with his Iller gees. I used to sneeze two or three times every morning when I wake up. That's pretty much gone away. Dr. Jennifer Ashton joins us. Good morning. Good morning. I was surprised to read this. Six leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. Is allergies. Oh yeah. A lot of options out there to treat them. And this is the key, this is about 30 million Americans. I talk about it in three steps. So one, the environment. When you come home, take your shoes off. If you have pets, stay away from them or make sure you're washing them because they're carrying pollen. And take a shower before you go to bed so that all that green pollen doesn't wind up on your pillow. The second thing, over the counter treatments, very they can be nasal sprays, tablets. This is first line, you can go to your pharmacy. There's a whole allergy section. The last thing, your immune system. You want to get ahead of this, Cecilia, and this is where all the excitement and the focus is, is priemg the immune system before you start to get Let's talk more about these tablets. A lot of people take shots. What do the tablets do? If you look at this chart and compare them head-to-head, they're effective in 40 to 60% of allergy sufferers but they don't have to be given in the doctor's office. They're just as safe. They do take three to five years but as you can see, they really do the same thing, so a lot of excitement for this. Patient comes to you and says I've got really bad allergies, what do I do, what's your advice? I see this all the time in my office, Cecilia. I say get ahead of it. Don't wait for the symptoms to start. Start treating the allergies before the symptoms.

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