In a recent study, immunotherapy tablets for dust mite allergy reduced the risk of an attack in individuals with moderate to severe asthma.

Allergies are a big trigger of asthma, and allergy to dust mites, tiny insects that live in homes, is the most common allergic asthma trigger.

The 693 people who completed the study had asthma that wasn’t well controlled by inhaled corticosteroids. Half of the participants took a pill made of dust-mite allergen daily, letting it dissolve under the tongue. The immunotherapy tablet significantly reduced the risk of a moderate or severe asthma attack.

It’s the first time sublingual immunotherapy tablets (often referred to as SLIT) have been tested as an asthma treatment, according to Dr J. Christian Virchow, a professor of pulmonology at the University of Rostock in Germany and lead author of the study.

“It’s the first large-scale study and I should be modest, but I think it’s a bit of a milestone,” Virchow told Shots. Earlier studies didn’t look specifically at how immunotherapy shots affected asthma, he says. Rather they studied allergic rhinitis and then sifted out the people with asthma after the fact.

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