Oral immunotherapy may help tackle peanut allergy in children: Study

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Peanut allergy affects about 2% of children in the United States, or nearly 1.5 million individuals ages 17 years and younger

A clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US has found that giving peanut oral immunotherapy to highly peanut-allergic children ages 1 to 3 years safely desensitized most of them to peanut and induced remission of peanut allergy in one-fifth.

The immunotherapy consisted of a daily oral dose of peanut flour for 2.5 years. Remission was defined as being able to eat 5 grams of peanut protein, equivalent to 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter, without having an allergic reaction six months after completing immunotherapy.

The youngest children and those who started the trial with lower levels of peanut-specific antibodies were most likely to achieve remission. The results of the trial, called IMPACT, were published in the journal The Lancet.

Although nearly all the children who received peanut flour had at least one dose-related reaction during treatment, most reactions were mild to moderate in severity. Twenty-one children received the rescue drug epinephrine for 35 moderate reactions to peanut flour during the 2.5-year treatment period.

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