Treatment for Peanut Allergy?

About 2.2% of children in the United States are allergic to peanuts. That percentage equates to around 1.6 million kids with an allergy. 

Currently, there is no cure for peanut allergy. If an allergic reaction happens, one can take an over-the-counter drug (such as Benadryl or epinephrine to reduce symptoms), but there is no absolute cure.

However, research has been conducted on a form of treatment called oral immunotherapy, or OIT, that increases a patient’s immunity to peanuts. The patient is given small amounts of the food they are allergic to to build up resistance against that allergen. The concept of OIT has been available for decades.

On September 13, 2019, a drug named Palforzia, a form of OIT, was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for official approval and distribution. If approved, Palforzia will become the first officially approved OIT drug. It has not yet been approved.

Palforzia is for children from ages 4 to 17, and the contents of the drug consist mainly of peanut flour. If taking the medication, the patient must first endure a tolerance phase where the individual must adapt to the allowance of the allergen in their body. After the tolerance phase, the patient must continue to take a daily therapeutic dose of Palforzia to maintain their tolerance of peanuts.

Possible side effects of the drug include nausea, vomiting, and itchiness in the throat. There is also a tripled risk for the patient to develop anaphylactic symptoms in the tolerance phase, as compared to a patient who takes a placebo.

The ratio of the effectiveness of Palforzia, as compared to a placebo, is 67.2% to 4.0% in a 600 mg dose and 50.3% to 2.4% in a 1000 mg dose.

As stated earlier, Palforzia is a type of OIT. However, the main difference between Palforzia and peanut flour, or other peanut substances used in OIT, is that a dose of Palforzia includes precise and specific measurements every time it is administered. This provides a constant that allows for more accurate observation as researchers observe the effects of OIT and can further assist in developing better treatments in the future.

(Palforzia pills)