Hay fever vaccines increase in popularity

Sales of hay fever medicines and vaccinations continue to rise in Sweden despite a levelling off in the number of allergies.

The state pharmacy monopoly, Apoteket, sold antihistamines for a total of 226 million kronor ($27.5 million) in 2008.

“There is usually an explosion in sales in the spring, and we can see that total volumes are increasing by 5-10 percent each year,” said Mikael Nilsson at Apoteket.

From the 1960s onwards the incidence of pollen allergies increased from 5-20 percent, according to Pär Gyllfors, a specialist in allergy illnesses at St.Göran’s hospital in Stockholm.

“It is a dramatic increase that has been seen, but it now seems to have stopped. Over the last three years we have seen a levelling off which no one can really explain,” Pär Gyllfors said.

Many of those suffering from pollen allergies have to look further than antihistamines and nose spray in order to find relief.

Some sufferers are obliged to undergo so-called immunotherapy or hyposentization. Patients are therein given tablets or injections to build up an increased tolerance for pollen.

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