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Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Hayfever jab trials underway
Medicine
An alternative to medication is being tested
Trials going on at hospitals across England could lead to the return of a hay fever treatment which was once withdrawn from GPs' surgeries.

The immunotherapy treatment involves de-sensitising sufferers to hay fever by injecting them with the grass pollen which causes their allergy.

The patient is given increasing doses in the hope that this will change the way they react and eventually not react at all.

John de Carpentier, ear, nose and throat consultant at the Royal Preston Hospital, told BBC News Online: "The treatment is still available at some centres but it used to be very popular in Britain.


There are lots of people wandering around who despite the fact they they take lots of medication, still suffer greatly during the summer months

John De Carpentier, ENT Consultant

"We are doing this trial to demonstrate that this treatment which is widely used in Europe and the United States, is safe.

"It was withdrawn because of health concerns ... some patients had complications... there is a chance they may have a real reaction.

"We hope to learn that it is completely safe."

In Scandinavia patients are first offered the immunisation before being given other medical treatments.

Appropriate treatment

Sufferers with particularly acute hay fever are being sought to take part.

Dr de Carpentier said: "If you do show a reaction we can give you the appropriate treatment.

"If you are de-sensitised up to the proper dose, you would need a maintenance injection very infrequently, and you may be completely off medications and hopefully symptom-free.

"You may not need to take your nasal sprays and your anti-histamines.

"There are lots of people wandering around who despite the fact they they take lots of medication, still suffer greatly during the summer months."

"These sorts of people are feeling bad with blocked noses, sneezing, runny eyes, and itchiness in their eyes and mouth."


Click here to go to BBC Lancashire Online
See also:

11 May 01 | Health
Bid for better allergy care
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