Pollen pill treatment for Hay fever suppression

In a new study, published today in the journal JAMA, scientists from Imperial College London have found that a two-year course of pollen pill treatment is not enough to achieve lasting effects in hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) patients, bolstering previous findings that more time is needed taking the medication to get lasting benefit.

The study was a double blind, placebo-controlled trial in which 106 patients were randomised to one of three treatment groups: injection, tablets and placebo. Patients had moderate to severe hay fever and were administered either the daily oral treatment, weekly injections for 15 weeks followed by monthly boosters, or a placebo. A total of 92 patients completed the study. Patients had moderate to severe hay fever and were administered either the daily oral treatment, weekly injections for 15 weeks followed by monthly boosters, or a placebo. After a two year course of treatment, the results showed that both therapies were effective at tackling symptoms, with patients reporting a dramatic improvement in their quality of life.

 “Most people respond to the usual antihistamines and nasal sprays, although there is a portion who do not respond adequately or who have unacceptable side effects to the treatment.” Describing the current findings, Professor Durham said: “This study shows that whereas both immunotherapy treatments were highly effective, two years of treatment was insufficient for long-term benefits. “Clinicians and patients should continue to follow international guidelines that recommend a minimum of three years’ treatment.

” Previous studies published by Imperial researchers have shown the long-lasting benefits of both immunotherapy injections and pills for severe hay fever – benefits which persist for at least two to three years after the treatment has stopped.

Professor Durham added: “We have reconfirmed that both treatments are effective but that in order to get the long-term clinical benefits after stopping the treatment, you have to take it for three years.

” Researchers at Imperial have a long legacy with immunotherapy dating back to 1911, when a grass pollen injection treatment was first shown to be highly effective in treating hay fever.

Citation: Scadding, Guy W., Moises A. Calderon, Mohamed H. Shamji, Aarif O. Eifan, Martin Penagos, Florentina Dumitru, Michelle L. Sever, Henry T. Bahnson, Kaitie Lawson, Kristina M. Harris, Audrey G. Plough, Joy Laurienzo Panza, Tielin Qin, Noha Lim, Nadia K. Tchao, Alkis Togias, and Stephen R. Durham. “Effect of 2 Years of Treatment With Sublingual Grass Pollen Immunotherapy on Nasal Response to Allergen Challenge at 3 Years Among Patients With Moderate to Severe Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis.” Jama 317, no. 6 (2017): 615.
DOI:10.1001/jama.2016.21040
Research funding: Immune Tolerance Network, NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.
Adapted from press release by Imperial college London.