For kids with peanut allergies, the world can be a scary place. Depending on the severity of their allergy, it could be a constant worry on the child and parent’s minds. However, there may be a new treatment option to help children who suffer from peanut allergies.
A study, funded by Aimmune Therapeutics, found that it may be possible for some people with peanut allergies to build up their tolerance to peanuts over time. They studied over 500 people with peanut allergies with ages ranging from 4 to 55 years old. They gave a quarter of participants a placebo, and the other participants a small amount of peanut protein powder and gradually increased the dose, up to about a peanut a day.
The Study Results
After about a year of treatment, two-thirds of the participants who received the peanut dose were able to tolerate about two peanuts per day. Half were able to tolerate about four peanuts per day. Researchers say that it doesn’t mean those with peanut allergies will suddenly be able to eat peanuts whenever they want, but it is a breakthrough in the research about peanut allergies.
According to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), peanut or tree nut allergies have tripled in American children between 1997 and 2008. About 40 percent of these children may experience a severe allergic reaction which is potentially life-threatening. They may experience symptoms like swelling of the throat, lips or tongue, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, vomiting, or hives. The drug epinephrine often called an EpiPen, is the only effective treatment for severe allergic reactions.
The study results show that this wouldn’t cure a peanut allergy completely, but it could help save lives if someone with the allergy accidentally ingested something with peanuts. It could also help relieve some of the anxiety kids and parents face about trace amounts of peanuts in food items or in classrooms.
Plans For A Prescription Drug
Aimmune Therapeutics plans to apply for FDA approval of the treatment by the end of the year. If approved, it would be available by prescription. They would have to take it long-term to stay protected. Keep in mind, the treatment wouldn’t work for everyone, based on the study’s results. Long-term side effects are also unknown at the time.
Do you or your child have a peanut allergy? Are you excited about the breakthrough scientists say they found in treating peanut allergies? Would you consider taking this prescription?
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