Fact or fiction: You can outgrow your allergies …

Fact or fiction: You can outgrow your allergies …


ATLANTA—As you sniffled through your childhood, dabbing at your itchy, watery eyes and red, runny nose, the future held hope of outgrowing those allergies.

“Outgrowing allergies” was the conventional wisdom of the day, but researchers have found that it is mostly wishful thinking.

“Most people grow into an allergy through prolonged exposure, not out of it,” said Dr. Yvonne M. Johnson, director of medical affairs for Novartis Ophthalmics, maker of ZaditorT (ketotifen fumarate ophthalmic solution, 0.025 percent). “Although you can become less sensitive to some substances that cause allergies by avoiding them, you would have to live in a bubble to avoid repeated exposures to the dust mites, animal dander, pollen and other substances that trigger allergies.”

Most people don’t want to spend their lives locked in a bubble, so they risk repeated exposure to the allergens that prompt their bodies’ immune responses to swing into action. Allergy attacks—the sneezes, the runny nose and itchy eyes—are simply the body’s way of trying to get rid of the annoying allergen.

“Repeated exposure to these allergens can cause a person to suffer from allergies his or her entire life,” said Johnson.

By controlling their environments and relying on medication to ease the symptoms of their attacks, allergy sufferers can find relief. Allergens can be controlled with the use of special pillows and bedding or by installing electrostatic filters in heating and cooling systems. Products are also available to help control pet dander and mold.

When it comes to medication, many allergy sufferers turn to over-the-counter products, said Johnson. But these may often contain medicines that treat more symptoms than the patient is suffering. For example, an over-the-counter product may contain a pain reliever, a decongestant and an antihistamine. A prescription product such as ZaditorT is specifically designed to relieve and prevent the most irritating symptom of ocular allergy: itchy eyes. The active ingredient in ZaditorT has both antihistamine (for quick relief) and mast cell inhibitor (for preventing release of histamines) properties.

“Why take all of these medications when

your only symptom is itchy eyes and all you need is an eye drop?” Johnson said. “You do not need these unnecessary medications. In any case, see your health care professional for advice.”

Background on Novartis Ophthalmics

With worldwide headquarters in Bulach, Switzerland, Novartis Ophthalmics is a global leader in research, development and manufacturing of leading ophthalmic pharmaceuticals that assist in the treatment of glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, eye inflammation, ocular allergies and other diseases and disorders of the eye. Novartis Ophthalmics products are available in more than 110 different countries. The North American headquarters is based in Atlanta, Ga. Novartis Ophthalmics has production sites in Switzerland, France and Canada. For more information, please go to the Web site www.novartisop


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