ALLERGY ADVANCE: The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing Merck & Co.'s new immunotherapy for grass pollen allergy. A tablet that dissolves under the tongue, it reduces allergy symptoms over time, instead of just easing them temporarily.
THE TREATMENT: One tablet would be taken daily throughout allergy season for three years, to gradually desensitize the patient's immune system to the substance triggering the allergic reaction. Side effects are mainly itchiness of the mouth and ear and throat irritation.
THE IMPACT: A top allergist says immunotherapy tablets, also being developed for other allergies, are a major advance over existing treatments.