Benefits of Immunotherapy Treatment for Children with Ragweed Allergies


David I. Bernstein, MD of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine discusses the recent approval of short ragweed pollen allergen extract tablet (RAGWITEK) for the treatment of children and adolescents.

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved short ragweed pollen allergen extract tablet (RAGWITEK) for the treatment of short ragweed pollen-induced allergic rhinitis in children and adolescents.

The recent approval of the sublingual tablet immunotherapy expands treatment of patients between the ages of 5 through 65 years old.

Allergist and immunologist David I Bernstein, MD, of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Bernstein Clinical Research, spoke with HCPLive about the benefit of the immunotherapy treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis compared to previous treatments available.

“It is more convenient; it doesn’t really involve allergy injection and it is very specific for the ragweed pollen allergy,” Bernstein said. “For a child, for instance, who just has ragweed pollen allergy during the late summer and early Fall, this would be a natural option to consider without having to get allergen injections.”

The study in the approval was the largest trial conducted to data based on children and adolescents aged 5 – 17 years old. Patients had a history of ragweed-induced rhinoconjunctivitis and sensitivity to short ragweed.

Bernstein discussed the safety profile of the treatment, noting that the therapy had been available to adults since 2014 and side effects of local itching in the mouth and tongue occurred in less than 10% of children.

He also spoke about the benefit of the immunotherapy treatment, particularly in comparison to other allergy treatment that may not be responding as well in children and adolescents.

“I think it should be considered with other therapies, for a child who certainly doesn’t respond to medications as well as might be expected,” he said. “If the ragweed pollen season presents problems for children, who are starting school, and it seems to affect performance or ability to concentrate, all varieties of treatment should be considered, including the allergy immunotherapy options.”

Dr. Bernstein is funded by ALK-Abello, Inc.

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