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Merck: FDA reviewing its ragweed allergy therapy

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Drug maker Merck & Co. said the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing its second application to sell a new type of allergy treatment meant to gradually reduce allergic­ reactions over time, rather than just relieving sneezing, itching, and other symptoms temporarily.

Merck’s latest application is for an allergy immunotherapy tablet for ragweed allergies that dissolves under the tongue.

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Patients in studies of the tablet took it daily for a year. It could become an alternative to months of uncomfortable allergy­ shots.

Both methods gradually desensitize the immune system to the substance triggering the allergic reaction.

In March, the Whitehouse Station, N.J., company said the FDA was reviewing its application for an immunotherapy pill for grass pollen allergies.

Merck expects FDA rulings on both still-unnamed treatments in 2014’s first half.

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