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Oral Drops Just as Effective as Shots for Asthma, Allergies

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May 06, 2013 09:04 AM EDT
Children
(Photo : REUTERS/Peter Andrews )

According to a latest study review by Johns Hopkins Children's Center, providing kids with under-the-tongue drops might be a better option in controlling allergies than the traditional allergy shots.

The number of children diagnosed with allergies and asthma are rising sharply in the U.S., according to a latest report by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Food-related allergies have risen, from being around 3.4 percent in 1997 to about 5.2 percent in 2011. Skin allergies have also shown an increase from 7.4 percent to 12.5 percent during the study period. About 7.1 million children currently have asthma.

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Needle-free options are common in Europe, where children are given oral drops. However, here in the U.S., children are given allergy shots that have the same kinds of proteins that are found in common allergens such as dust mites or pollen. Only some doctors in the U.S. prescribe these oral drops, researchers say.

In the study, the study team looked at 34 previously published clinical trials on the subject and found that both allergy shots and oral drops are equally good at lowering the severity of symptoms. However, oral drops work better in children who are scared of getting a needle-prick. Also, these oral drops can be given to children at home and save a trip to the doctor's office.

"Our findings suggest the needle-free approach is a reasonable way to provide much-needed relief to millions of children who suffer from asthma or seasonal allergies," said Julia Kim, M.D., a pediatric research fellow at Johns Hopkins Children's Center and lead author of the study, according to a news release.

The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.

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