Runny nose; sneezing; itchy nose, throat, or eyes; and congestion: An estimated 20% to 25% of the Canadian population suffer from allergic rhinitis1
KIRKLAND, QC, May 15, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - A new treatment option is now available for Canadian allergic rhinitis sufferers. RAGWITEK™ (Standardized Allergen Extract, Short Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) Sublingual Tablet) is an immunotherapy treatment to help manage ragweed allergies. It is indicated for reducing the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe seasonal short ragweed pollen induced allergic rhinitis, with or without conjunctivitis, in adults confirmed by clinically relevant symptoms for at least two pollen seasons and a positive skin prick test and/or a positive titre to Ambrosia artemisiifolia specific IgE, and who have responded inadequately, or are intolerant to conventional pharmacotherapy.2
"Immunotherapy treatment retrains the immune system. By administering a standardized dose of an allergen we can accustom the body to not react in an allergic way to allergens such as ragweed pollen", says Dr. Paul Keith, Allergist / Immunologist, Associate Professor, Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Department of Medicine, McMaster University. "Not only have these sublingual immunotherapy tablets demonstrated excellent safety and efficacy profiles, they also represent a convenient choice of treatment for our patients".
Efficacy demonstrated during the first ragweed pollen season
For optimal results, the dosing should be initiated at least twelve weeks before the ragweed pollen season and maintained throughout this period.3
"It is recommended to start this ragweed sublingual immunotherapy treatment at least three months prior to the ragweed season and maintain daily dosing throughout the season. The patient has to place the tablet under the tongue, where it will dissolve in seconds, and after the first dose taken in the doctor's office, this can be done at home", concludes Dr. Keith.
RAGWITEK™ has been approved for use in adults with efficacy and safety data demonstrated in two clinical trials which involved 1349 patients 18 to 50 years of age with short ragweed pollen-induced rhinoconjunctivitis.4
With this new treatment option, Merck Canada affirms its longtime commitment to developing respiratory products that provide physicians with a wide range of treatment options to help their patients suffering from allergies.
About allergies and allergic rhinitis
Caused by the immune system over reacting to a normally harmless substance called an allergen, allergic rhinitis sufferers can experience symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, a runny nose, itchiness in the nose, throat, eyes and ears.5
Approximately 20% to 25% of the Canadian population suffers from allergic rhinitis, an inflammatory disease of the nasal mucous membranes whose prevalence is increasing worldwide.1 Often starting in childhood and persisting into adult life,6 allergic rhinitis can have an impact on the sufferers' social life, school performance, and work productivity.7
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1 Keith, P., Desrosiers, M. et al, 2012. The Burden of Allergic Rhinitis (AR) in Canada: Perspectives of Physicians and Patients, Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology [Online] Available at: www.aacijournal.com/content/8/1/7 [Accessed 2014-04-23].
2 RAGWITEK Product Monograph, Merck Canada Inc., April 23, 2014. Page 3
3 RAGWITEK Product Monograph, Merck Canada Inc., April 23, 2014. Page 12
4 RAGWITEK Product Monograph, Merck Canada Inc., April 23, 2014. Page 7
5 American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, 2013. Allergic Reactions: Tips to Remember [Online] Available at: www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/tips/whatisallergicreaction.stm [Accessed 2014-04-23].
6 Allergy/Asthma Information Association, 2008. Allergic Rhinitis [Online] Available at: www.aaia.ca/en/allergic_rhinitis.htm [Accessed 2014-04-23].
7 Brozek, J. L., Bousquet, J. et al. Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) Guidelines: 2010 Revision. Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology Vol. 126(3), pp. 466-476