"This is not a quick fix, and it doesn't mean people with peanut allergy will be able to eat peanuts whenever they want", said Jay Lieberman, co-author and vice chair of the ACAAI Food Allergy Committee. A person in an OFC is given a very small dose of the food by mouth under the supervision of a board-certified allergist to test for a severe reaction.
As anyone reading the ingredients of everyday items such as chocolate bars or savoury sauces will tell you, having a peanut allergy requires an terrible lot of care when eating something unfamiliar.
Peanut allergy sufferers have been given new hope following the results of a landmark study.
"The doses patients tolerate are high enough to likely prevent reactions with cross contamination or allow patients to eat foods with "may contain" or "manufactured in"-type labels", added Ponda, who is assistant chief in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Northwell Health, in Great Neck, N.Y. She was not involved with the study".
Of 496 eligible participants ages 4 to 17, 372 received the AR101 oral medication, while the remainder received a placebo drug.
Doses were gradually increased every two weeks for a period of six months, before continuing on a "maintenance dose" of peanut for a further six months.
Peanut allergy has doubled over the last two decades and affects about one in 50 children in the UK. The median dose of peanut that participants could tolerate at the start of the study was only 10 mg.
- Fewer side effects than anticipated - e.g. only six percent dropped out of the study due to gastrointestinal side effects; Also, one-third of patients completed the study with no more than mild side effects along the way. Epinephrine, used as a lifesaver for the anaphylaxis (severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions) in food allergic patients in case of accidental exposure. The agency has granted the treatment an expedited approval process, and AR101 could become available to patients by the summer of 2019.
Almost 500 children aged four to 17 from across the U.S. and Europe took part in the trial - known as the Palisade study - making it the largest-ever peanut allergy treatment trial. "If that happens, people who receive and are able to tolerate this treatment should be protected from accidental exposures".