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August 25, 2014 06:21 PM

New Tablet For Allergy Sufferers

Sneezing, sniffling, and watery eyes are how many people recognize the start of allergy season. Allergies affect about 40 percent of all Americans. Quentin Robertson is one of them.

"I'm allergic to everything here in Sioux Falls, or I should say the whole state of South Dakota," Robertson said.

Robertson says his allergies are so bad; he gets allergy shots once a month to build up his immunity to what triggers his symptoms. He's been rolling up his sleeve for three years now.

"I don't really realize I have allergies anymore. I don't get colds as often either and I have had a sinus infection maybe once instead of two or three times," Robertson said.

However, there is a new drug on the market that could allow people, like Robertson, to stick out their tongue instead of roll up their sleeves. Grastek, Ragwitek and a third drug Oralair are known as sublingual medications. They are actually taken by putting the pills under-the-tongue where they dissolve into the blood stream.

"That would be nice because the shots kind of sting a little bit, not that I'm not a tough guy, but getting three shots a month, it might be easier just to take a tablet if I could," Robertson said.

It would also be easier not to have to make a visit to his doctor's office once a month.

"That's the ideal patient; you have a terrible time in August and September that will be the ragweed thing. You can take that tablet with minimal side effects, you don't have to come into the doctor's office, you do it at home," Dr. Mark Bubak said.

These tablets have to be taken every day to be effective.

While the new tablets could be an easier way to fight allergies, it will cost you more to spell relief with a tablet rather than a shot. The tablets run about twice the cost of allergy shots and insurance coverage can vary.

"Each tablet costs $8.25 and so when you start doing the math to use it for 5 years of allergy treatment, it's close to $5,000," Dr. Bubak said.

Like shots, you need to take the pills for five years to get full effectiveness. If you are allergic to multiple things, doctors say you should still consider getting allergy shots.

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