Peanut Allergy Treatment: Close to Reality!

peanut

Allergy treatment has crossed another major barrier as reported in the January/February edition of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. The lead authors in this multi-center research led by Drs. Wasserman, Factor and Baker demonstrated that IgE mediated peanut allergy can be effectively treated with oral immunotherapy!

This study was designed to administer small doses of peanut flour to peanut-allergic children and young adults, followed by incrementally increasing the doses up to the equivalent of eating eight peanuts. At conclusion, 91% of the study patients were able to tolerate 800mg of peanut protein daily. This is quite an achievement!

While studies have been published regarding a number of different foods, peanut has been the main target as it’s the most frequent cause of allergy-related fatalities. Until now, most researchers were understandably afraid to conduct trials on peanut-allergic children because of the risk of an anaphylactic reaction or death. It’s important to note that the study was not without risk: many of the participants experienced side-effects related to the peanuts, including skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. However, the good news is that 85% of the participants reached the maintenance dose to achieve peanut tolerance. This is a tremendous accomplishment and one that parents of children with peanut allergy will tell you can bring a lot of peace of mind. In response to the study, select private practices around the country have begun to add oral peanut immunotherapy to their list of services. A discussion with Dr. Factor at The New England Food Allergy Center confirmed that his practice has been successful in treating these patients, but he cautioned that it must be undertaken carefully and with a tremendous commitment on the part of the patients.

In the meantime, it’s critical that all of your patients with a history of a systemic reaction to any food be prescribed an epinephrine injector. The established standard on the market has long been Epipen. Today, the new AuviQ injector is a voice activated model that takes the patient or a person assisting who has never used the device through the simple steps of administering it. Until food allergy treatment is more widespread, be ready to lend a helping hand — or shot in this case. At the same time, stay tuned for more exciting developments on the horizon in the realm of food allergy treatment!

– Dr. Dean Mitchell

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