Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Evaluation of Chloraseptic "Allergen Block"

Jennifer Lashley, a physician's assistant at our office, gave me a coupon from the newspaper (thank you!) for Chloraseptic's "Allergen Block." This product is advertised as a "drug-free way to help prevent nasal allergy symptoms by blocking indoor and outdoor allergens. Chloraseptic™ Allergen Block is a clear topical gel containing petrolatum, glycerin and other ingredients. A patented formulation process creates a positively-charged gel which blocks negatively-charged allergens on contact." [blue and italics by me.] I searched its website for more information http://www.allergenblock.com/product.html. There was no information about this "process". I do not know of any process that allows "positively-charged gel" to be kept in a tube and then spread on skin. This is physically impossible. By the way, who says that allergens are negatively charged? Otherwise, it is simply petroleum mixed with glycerin. Frankly, it sounds like a gimmick. As a professional health care advocate, I would like to see objective evidence demonstrating efficacy and safety before I recommend using any product. Therefore, I can not recommend this product.
If you have questions about this product, ask your doctor and do your own research.
ADDENDUM: 10/28/08. This is my evaluation of a similar product: Little Allergies Allergen Block.

43 comments:

Mohaus said...

Hello Dr. Neil,

Chloraseptic Allergen Block was actually created by a licensed engineer who applied the ideas of science to helping an age old problem. The product went through years of product development and subsequent testing that proves its efficacy. I think you should absolutely try the product because I beleive you will be amazed at the results.

Neil Kao said...

I understand mohaus and I still respectfully request seeing the documentation of its efficacy. NK

Domhnull said...

The patents that cover this product reveal the electrostatic polymer to be "(poly) dimethyl diallyl ammonium chloride" (Merck Merquat 100) which is a common shampoo texturizer that is indeed electrostatically charged.

Neil Kao said...

Okay. I am still waiting for the scientific studies documenting its efficacy and safety in humans. I'd like to read about how the experiments were done and review the data that shows statistically significant beneficial effect and safety.

trad said...

I am puzzled by people who are so verbal about things they have no personal knowledge. I have actually tried this product and it works. In fact, it is the only thing that has worked for me. I am so happy and thankful to the developers of this product. I don't cough anymore. My coworkers are especially happy - as well as my husband. Dr. Neil, maybe offer it to someone you know who has airborne allergies to see if it works - that would be at least somewhat scientific, wouldn't it? Maybe it would take your negative edge away?

Neil Kao said...

I am truly glad you feel better. However, my recommendations are based on objective, blinded where possible, clinical trials plus clinical experience. When a patient or a series of patients tries a known product and then reports positive results with no other measured data, we call this an anecdotal report. I am asked about non-prescription treatments for allergies numerous times every day. I remind readers again that I am a first generation American of Chinese descent. My parents and relatives have used herbal medications, acupuncture, and mosibustion to treat medical conditions up to today. I respectfully reply to them, my own family, to you, and to others that I am glad you feel better, however I must see the "testing that proves its efficacy" and safety before I can recommend this treatment to others.

FrottyShot said...

I couldn't agree more with Dr. Kao, without proper documentation of the effects of this product, backed by statistical data, there is no way to safely recommend the product and say it is the cause of the alleviation of symptoms.

There are plenty of things that have been created by "professionals", watch any infomercial on the new and improved weight loss pill. Until there is data(based on well-documented testing), which support these claims there is no way to say that this gel actually does what it is advertised to do.

thevideoguy said...

I work for a company who remodeled the office by moving our work stations from the center, midle of room (open setting) to a individual cubicle setting along a common wall which puts my work area opposite to the air vents. for over 7 months after this change I began to suffer from ear, nose and eyes troubles, soon after arriving to work day in and out.

I now realise that the perfumes and smells from all my co-workers are blown in to my enclosed cubicle because my location is located in across from the copier next to the fax and walk by every employee who previously did not do so.

Our office is inside a warehouse and the "false ceiling" tiles have 26 years of dust filled insulation and several years of roof leaks where the only thing done was the replacement of the ceiling tiles.

I began to wear a face mask which has alleviated the problem tremendously but my boss has objected to it's use.

Do you think trying this would be a good test of this product.

Neil Kao said...

Your work environment exposes you to a good bit of small irritant particles, odors, plus possible dust and mold allergens. If you don't interact with the public, ask your boss why he objects. He may not want to see "something started." On the other hand, if the mask keeps you well, present at work, and very productive, surely this is an exchange that he comes out ahead in. Anyways, a good experiment has only one well defined variable and everything else is constant. There is more than one variable I can see at your work. Also along with the lack of efficacy data, there is a lack of safety data. If you do want to breathe filtered air (a very reasonable request in my opinion), consider the BreathePure, of which I have posted my opinion. Good luck.

billpierce said...

I am delighted to learn that Trad found some benefit from this product, but let me add another anecdotal evaluation. It doesn't work for me. I tried it during a recent bout of allergy reaction and found it to be of no discernible effect. I used it more often than recommended and still received no benefit. It did not seem to hurt, but it sure didn't help.

Amanda B. Stewart said...

There was a study performed on something similar...a Swiss study I believe? I look it up and try to post the reference here.

I've tried coating my nose with various things--and I'm trying this one now.

Trust me--my dust allergies can't get worse, so I have nothing to loose byt $13

Natalie said...

It worked wonderfully for me several times when applied at the first sign of allergy symptoms!! When applied after a considerable amount of allergens had entered my nasal passages, no matter how much I applied, it was useless! Would still recommend it definitely!

klst said...

I don't know how it works scientifically, but it definitely works for my husband. He has terrible allergies and asthma, and every night he has a sneezing fit that lasts for about 30 minutes. He has been using this product for the last week and now, during the worst pollen season of the year here in Georgia, he hasn't had one sneezing episode since.

dmboarman said...

I have suffered from severe allergies for several years and have been getting injections weekly for almost seven years. Now, the injections don't work. When I saw this product advertised I thought this could be the answer. I was shocked by the tiny tube with the huge cost but tried it anyway. I could hardly wait and next morning followed the directions before going outside. Within ten minutes I was in the middle of a severe allergy attack. I tried it again with more of the substance. IT DOES NOT WORK! DB

t. said...

my guess is that this probably works the same way as mucus does, it protects the membranes that react to allergens. it provides an environment to which the allergens can attach themselves before reaching your nostrils.
i'm sure it has nothing to do with positively/negatively charged anything. it's a physical effect, rather than a chemical one.
the allergens remain on the outside of the nose, where you apply the product, instead of getting in.

Natalie said...

It has been more than 2 weeks since I left my last comment...I mentioned that there was a time when I applied the allergen block after my symptoms were already bad and it didn't work. Since then, I have used it daily, and I always make sure I use it at the first sign of symptoms and then I forget all about it, because the allergen block works if you use it quick enough. I don't know what I did without it.

dogsbones said...

I've tried it for 4 nights (suspect I have a big dust mite problem)and it seems to work very well. My wife has tried it for 2 nights running and agrees. I tried applying it yesterday before going out to do yard work. Usually, even if I wear a paper mask I suffer an allergy attack on a delayed basis (the next day or sooner). So I used the Allergen Block and also wore the mask. Today...so far so good. I am very happy with this first week of testing.

ankindler said...

Dr. Neil,

I bought the chlorasceptic allergy block for my wife. I do not know whether it works or not because she just put it on. I do have a bone to pick with you, however. While I can understand that without clinical data you would be uncomfortable recommending any product, I hasten to point out that efficacy is not dependent on clinical trials, only proven by them. Salicylates to treat fever and pain were known as a folk remedy long before scientists had formally proven that they work or even understood why.
It is generally not a good idea to dispose of a concept based on your concept of a mechanism of action unless you are confident that you know without a doubt that something is impossible.
I routinely use remedies whose mode of action are not well understood or are unproven in the strict clinical sense. I benefit from them despite the lack of clinical data. While I would be the first to recognize that an awful lot of snake oil is being pedaled, my recommendation is; if it is not harmful or ridiculously expensive and many people say it works, try it out for yourself. Even if the effect is placebo, that may be better than the conventional alternatives which often are not as effective as claimed or simply don't work on everybody.

kittymatti said...

This stuff is amazing! IT works really well for me...

Cynthia said...

I googled this product and read your analysis, Doctor. Thanks, I think the way you do. I wonder why you allow just anyone to post on your site? There is absolutely zero way for anyone to tell if those who comment in favor of the product have indeed been paid to do so by the company. They DO do that, you know. People are paid to google the product and reply to any negatives with big personal anecdote positives. this is biz in the 21 century. you shouldn't allow anonymous comments on a medical page. Some readers are either inexperienced, naive or not intelligent enough to understand this fact. Also, I see some of your commenters don't even understand the basic philosophy/system of proving something scientifically. Americans are not only woefully under educated. They willfully believe their own opinion over those of experts. This has ALSO been part of American history.

JingoPoe said...

So glad to see that Cynthia has such a high opinion of her fellow Americans.

Henry said...

Folks are entitled to give their 2 cents here. I don't see nothing wrong with American history even I am not American. Cynthia, do you understand why Dr. Kao had to repeatedly use the word "respectfully"? You really don't have to be snobbish so as to distinguish yourself from others.

Tom said...

Cynthia's right, though. Many companies pay people to write positive reviews of their products and refute negative ones. The rich using their money to get the less wealthy to do things against their own interests is something that has taken place throughout human history, but is particularly applicable to the US due to our industrial/debt-based economy.

If physicians recommended things based simply on what they heard from people, they would have as much credibility as an internet forum. The entire point of having doctors is to get unbiased opinion that is based solely on inscrutable facts.

I'd love to see that study too, Dr. Kao.

louise said...

i tried chloraseptic allergen block for the first time about two weeks ago hoping it would help me with severe allergies...I can't say if it has helped or not but what i can tell you is that i had a reaction to the gel itself below my nose on the skin above my lip....a horrible burning sensation that left a red mark almost resembling a burn ....the red mark not only looks awful but feels raw and rough....i do not recommend this product to anyone!

Craig said...

Efficacy study:
http://archotol.highwire.org/cgi/content/full/130/8/979

tim said...

You use the gel before you come in contact with allergens and it works effectively.Best product on the market.Doctors are only working to get paid just like everyone else.They only treat symptoms not cure them so they can make a living.You can only learn by trial and error not by trusting someones word for it.Please, when your nose is open and clear of allergens is when you apply the gel and throw the other drugs in the trash.

Mark said...

it apparently does not work:

http://blog.mrmedsaver.com/2009/05/does-allergen-block-work.html

all the people claiming here it works great haven't tried smearing vaseline under their nose. that might work just as well. nor have they taken pollen counts for days wearing vs days not wearing to make sure the effectiveness of AllergenBlock is real, and not that it's only a down pollen day. further, people often WANT something to work they've paid a lot of money for. who wants to say "I'm a sucker who threw away $13?"

so a double blind test where people are exposed to controlled conditions - say once wearing allergen block, then the next time wearing it while the exact same amount of pollen is blown at them - is necessary to see if this really works.

one would imagine if it did AllergenBlock would do that and trumpet the results everywhere. their lack of same may be telling....

camilynn said...

Hi,

You have a nice blog. I just thought of mentioning about this website www.dustmitesallergies.org. They seem to offer specialized advice of dust mites allergies.

huter12 said...

This article is almost 2 years old but I thought I'd give my opinion anyway. I have asthma and allergies and have a real problem with ragweed. I avoid using decongestants and antihistamines due to a heart rhythm disorder. I once used a nasal steroid spray but stopped when I developed a nasal ulcer. I tried this product as a last resort and it does seem to be useful. I use it when I'm outside and wearing a mask is not an option.

As far as the safety profile, I don't see how that could be an issue when the product is used as directed. Pretty innocuous when compared to prescription drugs. The product is fairly inexpensive so I definitely would recommend it to someone like me who has limited choices.

CMR6307 said...

IT WORKS GREAT!!!!

Casey said...

I have used this product and sorry I noticed no difference. Very dissapointed.

Dale Rempel said...

Chloraseptic Allergen Block works for me. I often have problems with sinuses "draining" during the night. I have had this problem for 30 years (probably due to allergies but I am not really sure). Allergen Block stops this problem IMMEDIATELY. Don't know why but it sure works for whatever my problem is.

Poster said...

Hi guys, I have tried everything including OTC allergy medications and have had very limited success with them. I have also tried cleaning my sinuses with a Neti Pot and that helps a bit.
I have since tried the allergen block and it has worked for me though sometimes it does not. I suspect that once the allergen enters your nasal passages and you continue to sneeze and wipe your nose that wipes off the gel and reduces the efficiency of it.
I believe that because it's not a medical science most medical doctors are having a hard time understanding how it could work. It's mostly an engineering science so not surprising if they are skeptical of the process. This process is already used very efficiently in filters for many industrial applications.
Dr. Kao, my family is also Asian, I'm 3rd generation and I am skeptical of the side effects of western medicine that use so many medications to treat everything. For me the allergen block is a perfect solution!

Poster said...

Hi guys, I have tried everything including OTC allergy medications and have had very limited success with them. I have also tried cleaning my sinuses with a Neti Pot and that helps a bit.
I have since tried the allergen block and it has worked for me though sometimes it does not. I suspect that once the allergen enters your nasal passages and you continue to sneeze and wipe your nose that wipes off the gel and reduces the efficiency of it.
I believe that because it's not a medical science most medical doctors are having a hard time understanding how it could work. It's mostly an engineering science so not surprising if they are skeptical of the process. This process is already used very efficiently in filters for many industrial applications.
Dr. Kao, my family is also Asian and I am skeptical of the side effects of western medicine that uses so many medications to treat everything. For me the allergen block is a perfect solution!

ROCNRLR said...

If I do not use this before bed at night, I wake up to a VERY itchy throat from dust and my cat...so it WORKS!!! I can stay off Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra if I use Chloroseptic Allergy Block regularly!! So there!

Mists of Seattle said...

Got to say - that I love this stuff - it's not a cure - but it is really nice - I enjoy breathing when I wear it....no side effects except pleasant fresh air ! Very happy to have discovered it -- these comments go back quite a few years! Yikes! I could have used it sooner ! Recommend highly !

Phyllis said...

I can assure you that this product is a life saver for me!! Tubes have been in place in both ears for 40 years due to my allergies, and this is the only and I do mean "only" product that has helped me! I cannot do without it! I use it during the day while teaching elementary school, and it works outside on the playground as well as blocking out chalk dust!

givhar said...

Interesting that you claim that placing a positively charged gel into a tube for later use is "physically impossible", and your third commenter does a cursory search to find that it's not only possible, but common. It seems to me that you don't want to do much searching for facts on your own.

tiger863 said...

I have used the product and it works great for me. I usually do a sinus rinse if I have already been outside and forgot to apply it otherwise I just apply it in the am and repeat before I go outside again and I'm good. I used to be on allergy shots which helped but was very costly and I was told by someone vaseline in the nostrils would work too. The vaseline did not work at all just moisturized that's it. The allergen block works better than most OTC allergy meds I have tried. Even better than most steroid nose sprays. The only thing that works better than the allergen block for me is nasal crom. Believe me I have my doubts about allergen block and I don't believe the claims about how it works and I don't believe it works for everyone but it works great for me. And if you look at the reviews on amazon it works great for a lot of people. it seems to work better for kids than adults. Likely has to do with nostril size. Some of the allergens are able to get past the slight attraction to the product.

Richard H said...

I use the allergen block and it is truly amazingly effective. My question is why is basically not available from the company that have been selling it. And why is it being dumped on eBay and Amazon for next to nothing what happened to supply and demand?

pdhen said...

I agree. Stuff worked wonders for me.

Unknown said...

I am emotional over this issue because I know that this is a technolog that works and works too well to leave on the market. It is gone from the shelves but thankfully still available on Amazon. The competition,it has had, is that highly sought after ingredient, pseudophenedrine--an expensive legal product and used illegally. Pretty sure it is negatively attracting positively allergen particles.

Mello said...

I've been using this product for about 8 years .I first purchased it under the Chloroseptic brand at my local dollar store .It worked for me without drousiness and enlarged prostate problems associated with other OTC meds. I am having a difficult time getting this shipped to Canada ,since its not available in stores locally.
Its's true no scientific evidence for its efficacy but I'm very happy with product ,and just ordered 9 more tubes from us supplier.It has even helped me at night with a persistant cough that I was using a narcotic cough medication for and no longer need.I definitely endorse Allergen Block Gel.

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