Health Care

Drug to reduce children’s peanut allergies shows early promise

Drug to reduce children’s peanut allergies shows early promise”

"It works by introducing, initially, minute, controlled amounts of peanut protein, with escalation over a sustained period of six to 12 months, building up a patient's tolerance to peanut", Hourihane said. By its end, about two in three of the almost 400 children being given the drug (whose dosage was increased as the study went on) were able to take in 600 milligrams of peanut protein without having an allergic reaction.

Peanut allergy, a potentially life-threatening condition, has doubled over the last two decades and affects about 1 in 50 children in the UK.

"These treatments really have the potential to transform people's lives", Brian Vickery, the study's lead author and director of the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Food Allergy Program, tells Scutti.

One third of the participants were given a placebo, while the remaining two-thirds were given peanut protein powder as part of an oral food challenge (OFC) in increasing amounts until reaching the "maintenance dose" - equivalent of one peanut daily. Now there's a drug ready for FDA approval that may help.

He said: "Up to now, without any treatment available, peanut allergy has put children and adults at risk of unpredictable and occasionally life-threatening reactions".

The treatment is not a cure, and the regimen may not appeal to everyone with food allergies.

After a year of taking AR101, the children were tested to see how much peanut protein they could tolerate.

Sophie Pratt, 44, from Kentish Town in north London, enrolled her six-year-old daughter Emily, who has had a peanut allergy since she was one, on the study.

There are an estimated 6 million children with food allergies in the United States.

In the trial, 372 children ages 4 to 17 received doses of AR101.

But that improvement came at a cost - almost all of the study participants who received the drug, a pharmaceutical-grade preparation of peanut flour, suffered adverse events of some type, and 1 in 10 withdrew from the trial because of gastrointestinal, skin or respiratory problems or systemic allergic reactions. "The large majority of the study participants tolerated the treatment, and I expect the same will be true of its use in the real world when and if it's approved".

"Her allergy was very severe so even a small amount of peanut could lead to a very serious reaction".

"The hope would be to have a treatment available in the second half of 2019", Lieberman said. During the course of this time, the patients went from experiencing allergic reactions as severe as blisters on the tongue with exposure to 1mg of peanut protein, to consuming up to 600mg.



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