Hay fever injections

Every Spring we see posts about the so-called “hayfever jab”. Unlike many of our competitors, we very deliberately DON’T offer Kenalog injections for hayfever. Why not?

Kenalog is an injection which was once approved to treat hayfever. The idea of just having one or two injections to keep hayfever at bay for months may seem appealing. However, the evidence shows that Kenalog, a long-acting steroid, is no more effective than safer treatments. For that reason, it is no longer approved for use in the UK (and most other countries) as a treatment for hayfever.

Most doctors no longer offer the treatment, and Allergy UK – a national charity supporting allergy sufferers – explicitly does not recommend its use for hayfever. International experts also warn against the use of steroid injections for hayfever. Yet despite this, many private medical clinics and aesthetic services offer the treatment. Many of those giving the treatment are beauty therapists rather than doctors or nurses.

Although steroid injections do usually help with hayfever symptoms, there is a real risk of side-effects, some of them serious – they can affect blood sugars, mental health, and bone health, and may make you more vulnerable to infections. So they are not routinely recommended because there are effective alternatives which are much safer. Alternatives include antihistamines – which can be given as a nasal spray, or as tablets – and nasal steroid sprays, which are much safer than Kenalog because much less of the steroid is absorbed into the bloodstream. Most of these options can be bought from your local chemist. If those don’t work, then your GP – either NHS or private – will be able to advise about prescription-only treatments.

If, despite those prescription-only treatments, your GP can’t get on top of your symptoms, then it may be appropriate for you to be referred to an allergy specialist. Specialists can sometimes offer options like immunotherapy treatment, though that isn’t an option for everyone.

Patients sometimes seek Kenalog because they have an important event coming up, but even then, we would not recommend it; there are other alternatives which are as effective but safer, such as a short course of oral steroid tablets.

At Formby GP, we want our patients to know that they can trust us. We will not try to sell you things which we believe would do you more harm than good. As doctors our duty is clear: to first do no harm.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner