Doctors raise concerns over hay fever jabs
There is growing concern in the medical profession about beauticians and private clinics offering steroid injections to treat hay fever.
Speaking to The Times newspaper, Dr Glenis Scadding of the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology said the injections, which typically include an immunosuppressant steroid called Kenalog, are dangerous when administered by unqualified staff and put patients at risk of serious side-effects that outweigh any potential benefits.
Some private clinics are offering Kenalog injections to hay fever sufferers for as little as £25 a shot. Kenalog works by suppressing the immune system and thereby at the same time suppressing the allergic response to pollen. Demand for the injections is expected to soar not only due to the recent hot weather but also as part of a more widespread post-lockdown rush for cosmetic treatments and products which consumers have been unable to access since March.
The NHS has advised against the use of Kenalog for more than a decade due to the risk of side-effects including hypertension, anaphylactic shock, and increased susceptibility to infection. In October 2019 the drug’s licence to be used as a hay fever treatment in the UK was withdrawn. The Times quotes the charity Allergy UK as saying that using Kenalog to treat hay fever is “like using a hammer to crack nuts.”
Nevertheless, some private clinics continue to ignore the law and market and administer Kenalog as a quick-fix for hay fever without warning patients of the potential dangers. They are also in violation of laws requiring clinics that offer prescription-only services to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The CQC for its part told The Times that it would be investigating the issues raised along with the Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
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