Yesterday, the FDA Allergenic Products Advisory Committee supported approval for a new sublingual allergy tablets (Ragwitek) that work the same way allergy shots do… but instead is dissolved under the tongue at home instead of a shot in the arm in a medical office. Given this is only a panel recommendation, final “official” FDA approval may not occur for another year or so for sale/distribution under prescription in the United States.
Ragwitek is made by ALK-Abello and Merck and treats patients aged 18-65 years who are allergic to only short ragweed pollen. The way Ragwitek is taken is placement of 1 sublingual tablet daily starting 12 weeks before and continued until the end of the ragweed pollen season. The first dose is given in a medical office to ensure safety with all other doses taken at home. The tablet dissolves in less than 10 seconds.
Epipen needs to be available at home due to possible risk of anaphylaxis. As with allergy shots, patients on beta-blockers for high blood pressure are not eligible to undergo this treatment.
Ragwitek is similar to Oralair and Grastek which treat only grass allergy. Oralair and Grastek were both recommended by the FDA panel last year.