DOCTORS in Southampton are trialling a new 'dust mite tablet' which could cut the number of asthma attacks in children with the condition.

The study will involve 20 patients aged between six and 16 with allergic asthma.

The condition, which is the most common type of asthma in childhood and accounts for 90% of cases, causes symptoms to occur when patients come into contact with triggers - known as allergens - such as pollen, pets and dust mites.

It is hoped that exposing children to a small dose of dust mite via a tablet will help their immune systems accept and adapt to the allergy-triggering substance and reduce their reaction to it.

The study is being led by researchers at the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre and Southampton Children's Hospital.

In a previous study which looked at adults with allergic asthma caused by dust mites, the tablet was found to cut the number of attacks – known as exacerbations – and hospital visits.

Although preventer and reliever inhalers are used to manage the condition, those with an allergic form require intervention to identify and manage the trigger of their attacks.

"We know exposing children with allergic asthma to a small dose of whatever they are allergic to can reduce their reaction to the trigger and this, in turn, reduces the likelihood of asthma attacks and further problems in the future," said study lead Professor Graham Roberts, a consultant in paediatric allergy and respiratory medicine..

"This exciting study enables us to trial a way of doing this via a simple daily tablet which we already know is very safe and has a good track record in older patients."

He added: "We expect the treatment to work well and, given its previous success, we are hopeful we can demonstrate the benefits of it for children through this trial."

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the study, which will run for 18 to 24 months, can contact the research team on 023 8120 4989 or by email at