Treatment of severe hay-fever, that may be non- or poorly-responsive to usual treatments.
Hay fever is caused by your immune system responding to pollens, that it incorrectly determines as a threat to you.
In the UK, trees can begin to produce pollen from late January to March and some grasses release large numbers of pollen through to September. Depending on which pollen you are allergic to, in some cases you may suffer symptoms for six or more months of the year.
At least 1 in 5 people suffer with hayfever symptoms. This can be mild to debilitating with the worst sufferers reporting impaired concentration, disruption of daily activities including driving, sleep issues and even aggravation of other health conditions, such as asthma.
Around 10% of affected individuals do not respond readily to standard treatments such as anti-histamine tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops.
Up until around 10 years ago, steroid injections such as Kenalog were routinely given by the NHS to the worst sufferers. Unfortunately this changed after cost-risk-benefit studies deemed this approach unsuitable for continuation via the health service.
Millions of people globally trust a Hay Fever shot to get them through the year with minimal disruption.
Kenalog injection contains Triamcinolone acetonide as the active ingredient. This medicine is a corticosteroid (“steroid”). Not the kind to give you huge muscles! It’s a type that reduces inflammation and calms the immune system’s overactivity.
This treatment does have some risks and side effects (see below) – overall however, there are many adults for whom this is suitable once they have thoroughly considered the risks.
Kenalog is licensed for the treatment of severe hay fever in the UK. It does not completely cure all of the symptoms, but users can find significant improvement, often lasting many weeks.
It is injected into the gluteal (buttock) muscle. This is the only suitable site. It is not painful and takes just a few seconds to administer. It costs from just £95 (May 2023 pricing).
Occasionally a second dose of Kenalog may be needed. This is common if you have your first dose in the spring but are also allergic to summer pollens – like grass.
Steroids are potent medications with some important side effects but thankfully rare side-effects
Serious possible adverse effects:
Anaphylactic reactions have been very rarely reported. Gastrointestinal side effects such as stomach ulceration and aggravation of reflux/indigestion.
Possible mental health effects of steroids:
Depression of conversely, feeling high (mania), or moods that fluctuate. Anxiety, confusion, sleep difficulty. Psychosis.
Other possible side effects:
Weight gain. Raised blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) in diabetic patients. Increased risk of infections or higher severity of infection. Skin changes at site of injection – thinned skin, ulceration, dimpling at the injection site.
Thankfully side-effects are uncommon and many can be avoided by only having the treatment if you are a suitable adult and don’t have medical conditions that may make you more susceptible to them.
Want to learn more?
Dr Booshan is a licensed GP working in both the NHS and private sector. You may check next availability here
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