New drug promises protection for people with peanut allergies

New drug promises protection for people with peanut allergies

The study found two-thirds of those studied could tolerate consuming two peanuts a day after nine-to-12 months and half could eat up to four peanuts a day.

For years, smaller studies have suggested that exposure to escalating amounts of peanut allergen could desensitize people to the potentially life-threatening effects of exposure, which can include anaphylactic shock, but several outside experts said that the large, systematic study of 550 people could lead to the first treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

"We are excited to be submitting our applications for marketing approval in the United States next month and in Europe in the middle of next year", he said. But they also cautioned that the treatment does not cure peanut allergies and should not be attempted at home.

"Until recently there has been nothing to offer peanut allergy suffers other than education around peanut avoidance and recognition and self-treatment of allergic reactions".

The new peanut allergy treatment actually works by having the patients consume small amounts of peanuts over the course of six months.

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"This is not a quick fix, and it doesn't mean people with peanut allergy will be able to eat peanuts whenever they want", says allergist Jay Lieberman, MD, vice chair of the ACAAI Food Allergy Committee and study co-author.

Jonathan Hourihane, professor of paediatrics and child health at UCC, said the trial was revolutionary and that 67 per cent of those on the treatment could tolerate peanuts afterwards.

The drug contains defatted peanut flour to help users eventually reduce sensitivity to peanut exposure, but unluckily for some the treatment wasn't successful and they had to drop out of the trial due to adverse effects to peanut exposure. "Overall, the safety profile of AR101 was similar to previous studies of oral immunotherapy with the frequency and severity of hypersensitivity reactions as was predicted prior to the study and as expected", Jones told the AAAAI/WAO meeting. But, much like the study on families with high socioeconomic status, the drug was most effective in younger participants, with those aged 18 to 55 years not experiencing significant results. Parikh calls the drug "promising in that by making patients less reactive they are less likely to have a life-threatening reaction". If approved, it could be available by prescription in 2019.

"When we entered the trial he had a reaction to the equivalent of half a peanut".

Wayne G. Shreffler, director of the Food Allergy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital opines that further research will be needed for a permanent relief of this allergy in near future.

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