Fall Allergy Season Is Upon Us

allergiesRagweed season is under way, bringing with it sneezes, sniffles, and itchy eyes for 36 million Americans. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, ragweed is the primary cause of fall allergies. Ragweed season generally runs from mid-August to the first frost. The average ragweed plant produces 1 billion pollen grains, which can travel up to 400 miles carried on the wind.

More than 3.8 million days of work and school are missed each year due to seasonal allergies, or allergic rhinitis. Almost 80 percent of sufferers experience sleep problems, which often lead to loss of concentration and poor work or school performance.

Typical treatments for allergic rhinitis include antihistamines, allergy shots, nasal corticosteroids, and decongestants. Some recent news from the allergy treatment arena:

Schering-Plough recently released a non-drowsy, 12-hour version of its popular antihistamine Claritin. The new pill is meant to be an in-between option for patients; Claritin was previously available in 6-hour and 24-hour doses.

Xyzal, a once-daily allergy drug by Sanofi-Aventis, has received expanded approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The drug can be used on children as young as six months.

Allergies can trigger asthma, which affects 20 million Americans. Icagen recently reported that its allergic asthma drug senicapoc was effective in a Phase IIa clinical trial.

Cytos Biotechnology announced a successful Phase IIb trial of its experimental allergy vaccine.

Other companies working in this field include Dey, Luna Innovations, Advanced Allergy Technologies, and CGI Pharmaceuticals.

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