A New Way to Beat Cat Allergies

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have concluded that cat allergies can be defeated with asthma medication.


Medical Columnist, Ornament

Furry allergen

Cat allergies are accompanied by a stuffy nose, sneezing, a scratchy throat, an itchy rash, and sometimes even difficulty breathing. These unpleasant symptoms occur because the allergy sufferer's immune system overreacts to cat proteins (antigens), mistaking them for dangerous microbes. Antigens are found in cat skin, saliva, and urine, and can also be carried on cat hair and dander.

Allergy sufferers who want to get a cat can resort to allergen immunotherapy. To put it simply, this means getting an allergy shot. In order to achieve the effect, the shots must be given once every one or two weeks during the year, and then switch to a monthly schedule for at least three years. The method is difficult and not suitable for everyone.

An unconventional combination

Researchers set out to reduce the number of shots administered and prolong the effect of the therapy. The study involved 121 people with cat allergies. Each was given one of four vaccines for 52 weeks (with follow-up):

  • Standard allergy shot
  • The medication tezepelumab, which is used to treat asthma
  • A combination of the standard allergy shot and tezepelumab
  • Placebo

As a result, it turned out that tezepelumab by itself was no better than a placebo. However, the combined drug reduced allergy symptoms. In participants who received the combination vaccine, the level of IgE antibodies fell and continued to decline even a year after treatment was stopped. And in those who received the standard vaccine, IgE levels began to return to baseline parameters almost immediately.

The next step

The scientists suggest that this treatment approach would be effective not only for cat allergies but also for other types, including food allergies. They are currently investigating this possibility, and hopefully, more good news for allergy sufferers is just around the corner.

Source: https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(22)01333-1/pdf

17 February 2023

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