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New drug may help treat peanut allergy
22 November 2018, 06:31 | Melissa Porter
Emily Pratt was enrolled by her mother Sophie Pratt on the study for peanut allergy sufferers
If this treatment is approved by the FDA, it will be available by prescription, and people with a peanut allergy will need to take it continuously to stay protected against accidental consumption, the researchers said. At the end, when they consumed peanut protein, almost 70% of the kids who'd had the AR101 were able to eat at least 600mg of peanut protein without major symptoms; only 4% in the placebo group could do so.
"Her allergy was very severe so even a small amount of peanut could lead to a very serious reaction".
In the trial, 372 children ages 4 to 17 received doses of AR101.
As anyone reading the ingredients of everyday items such as chocolate bars or savoury sauces will tell you, having a peanut allergy requires an bad lot of care when eating something unfamiliar.
The revolutionary immunotherapy trial in Ireland has shown that more than two thirds of those on the treatment could tolerate peanuts after the trial.
For the study, the researchers at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in the USA included 496 participants aged from four to 55 years, most were four to 17 year olds, and all had peanut allergy. For five percent of the AR101 group and 11 percent of the placebo group, symptoms were severe. AR101 does not eliminate the allergy-children still won't be able to eat their fill of Reese's and Snickers-and patients may have to continue taking maintenance doses throughout their lives. Again, this isn't meant as a be-all-end-all solution to peanut allergies; it's simply meant to protect patients against life-threatening reactions (anaphylactic shock) when they unknowingly come into contact with a small dose of peanut. He adds, however, that "psychologically it makes a massive difference if you can keep your kid from living in fear".
Not all of the participants responded well to the trial. One-third of patients completed the study without experiencing anything more than mild side effects along the way. Almost 15 percent of people who took AR101 had to take injections of epinephrine to combat severe allergic reactions, and one child needed three injections of an EpiPen.
The participants were kept under close medical watch, and experts caution that parents should not try to increase their child's peanut tolerance at home.
The next step is a review by the Food and Drug Administration for possible mass market availability sometime next year.
"The hope would be to have a treatment available in the second half of 2019", Lieberman said. "I have seen it happen firsthand: the sense of relief [families] get when a child becomes desensitized".
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