Fight against allergies: trend towards causal therapies
Allergic diseases are an increasing problem. In the past few years, the number of illnesses has increased significantly, explained Univ.-Prof. Ralph Mösges from the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne at a press conference in Vienna. In Austria and Germany, around 30 percent of the population is currently affected by common forms of allergy such as hay fever or hives. In general, according to the doctor, the trend is to prefer causal therapies to symptomatic forms of treatment. The use of symptomatic therapies for allergies usually means not only a significant impairment of the quality of life (e.g. avoiding spending time outdoors, etc.), they often do not lead to the desired goal. The doctor, postulated Mösges, must therefore obtain a comprehensive impression of the living conditions of the allergy sufferer in order to jointly develop the individually optimal treatment concept. The aim is to combine the three scientifically proven treatment options - allergen avoidance, hyposensitization and pharmacotherapy - both prophylactically and symptomatically in a "synergistic approach".
Diseases such as allergic rhinoconjunctivitis ("hay fever") are genetic according to studies, explained Mösges further, whereby their development before birth, but especially in the first months of life, is influenced by external factors (e.g. smoking, pets, early weaning…) will be affected. Drug therapy is essential for long-term treatment, with antihistamines being the first choice.
Research has shown more and more clearly that antihistamines go far beyond H1 antagonism. Both a mast cell-stabilizing and an anti-inflammatory effect have been demonstrated. When used regularly, antihistamines have the best results, especially when administered prophylactically. In this context, at the beginning of April, the pharmaceutical company Hoechst will launch fexofenadine, a new, non-sedating substance that is effective as an oral antihistamine in both hay fever and hives.