Ragwitek and Grastek Approved for Ragweed and Grass Pollen Allergies

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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It’s that time of year: everyone around you is sneezing and blowing their nose thanks to the fresh grass and beautiful flowers that are beginning to bloom. Spring is a beautiful time, but it can turn ugly for those who are prone to seasonal allergies. Good news for this year though—there are several recently approved medications that can help stop your allergy symptoms before they even have a chance to occur!

Oralair received approval earlier this year (see my previous post for more info), and now Ragwitek and Grastek have also been approved.

What is Ragwitek used to treat?
Ragwitek treats short ragweed pollen–induced allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies), with or without conjunctivitis (itchy and allergic eyes).

What is Grastek used to treat?
Grastek works similarly, but for the treatment of grass pollen-induced (Timothy grass or cross-reactive grass pollens) allergic rhinitis with or without conjunctivitis.

Who can take Ragwitek and Grastek?
Ragwitek is indicated for the treatment of adult patients who are 18 to 65 years old. Grastek can be used in children as well, from 5 to 65 years old.

What strengths do Ragwitek and Grastek come in?
Ragwitek is available in 12 Amb a 1-Unit (Amb a 1-U) immediate-release sublingual tablets. Grastek is available in 2800 Bioequivalent Allergy Unit (BAU) immediate-release sublingual tablets.

Are there any special considerations with the initial administration of Ragwitek or Grastek?

YES. The first dose of BOTH medications MUST be administered at your doctor’s office to make sure you do not experience an adverse reaction.

After taking your first dose, you must remain at the doctor’s office for an additional 30 minutes. For future doses, you may fill your prescription and take it at home.

How do you take Ragwitek and Grastek after the initial dose?

Both are taken once-daily and placed under the tongue (also known as sublingually) for 1 minute to fully dissolve.

They should NOT to be taken with food or drink while you have the tablet in your mouth, or for 5 minutes after it has dissolved.

Wash your hands after taking the tablet.

You should be started on Ragwitek or Grastek 12 weeks prior to the expected onset of ragweed (Ragwitek) and grass pollen (Grastek) season(s) and remain on it throughout the season.

Important information about Ragwitek and Grastek!

When receiving either of these medications make sure that your doctor also gives you a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector such as EpiPen, EpiPen Jr, or Auvi-Q. The epinephrine autoinjector is to be used if you have allergic reaction ingesting the Ragwitek or Grastek.

What are the most common side effects associated with Ragwitek and Grastek?

The most common side effects of Ragwitek and Grastek include: itchy ears, itchy tongue or other oral itching, tongue or mouth swelling, throat irritation. For Ragwitek only, you may experience oral tingling, tickling, or prickling.

Finally, some additional information about Grastek:
Grastek can also be taken daily for a total of 3 years to build up a cumulative effect for a fourth year in which you would not need to take Grastek.

Need more info?

Check out the Ragwitek package insert here, and the Grastek package insert here.

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