Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, announced the results from a Phase 2b study that evaluated two doses of an investigational house dust mite sublingual immunotherapy tablet, which they call MK-8237. Considering the fact that about 20 million people are allergic to the nasty little dust mites that feed off of skin cells, these results could lead to immeasurable help for millions.
They conducted the study in 124 adult patients aged 18 years and older who had house dust mite-induced allergic rhinitis, with or without conjunctivitis, using an environmental exposure chamber. In the study, Merck gave their tablets in once-daily dosages of six development units. the participants were then exposed to a house dust mite allergen using the exposure chamber at weeks 8, 16, and 24.
Merck used this method because it allowed them to control and reproduce conditions that provided a constant concentration of allergen over a six-hour period with patients recording symptoms every 15 minutes. There was a time-dependent reduction in average total nasal symptom score over the last four hours of the chamber at week 24 of treatment compared to the placebo group.
Essentially, the tablets helped.
“Merck is committed to the research and development of sublingual tablet immunotherapy options for the treatment of allergic rhinitis,” said vice president of Merck Research Laboratories’ Respiratory and Immunology, Dr. Sean Curtis. “We look forward to continuing with Phase 3 research, which will provide further insight into the safety and efficacy of MK-8237.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, dust mite allergies are a reaction to the tiny bugs that live in house dust. The allergy’s symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, cough, and swollen skin under the eyes. Some common ways to treat dust mite allergens are to use a dehumidifier, encase mattresses and pillows in dust-proof allergen impermeable prophylactic, wash bedding weekly, replace wool or feather bedding with synthetic materials, and wear a mask while vacuuming.
If Merck’s tablet continues to show positive results, these intensive treatments will become a thing of the past. Millions of people will be able to improve their quality of life, all thanks to the advancement of modern medicine.