World's First Drug for Treatment of Peanut Allergy in Children Approved by the FDA
Peanut allergies are rampant amongst children and can cause serious health issues if not properly monitored. Now, according to USA Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finally approved the world's first drug for treatment for peanut allergies.
This condition affects over one million American children. It should be noted that the drug is not at a total cure. Rather what Palforzia does is help increase tolerance to smaller peanut amounts.
“Peanut allergy affects approximately 1 million children in the U.S., and only 1 out of 5 of these children will outgrow their allergy," said to USA Today Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. "Because there is no cure, allergic individuals must strictly avoid exposure to prevent severe and potentially life-threatening reactions.”
Palforzia is suitable for people ages 4 to 17, but the FDA warns that patients using it must continue avoiding peanuts in their diet.
“It’s been a life-changer,” Nina Nichols 18, of Washington, told USA Today. Nichols' first accident with a peanut was as a toddler and sent her to the emergency room. She now refers to the Palforzia research study as “a security blanket.”
The best way to explain it is through an example of the Wall Street Journal.
"Noah Townsend of Orlando, Fla., enrolled in a clinical trial for Palforzia in 2016 when he was 10 years old and accustomed to avoiding peanuts most of his life. He had an allergic reaction to peanut butter when he was about 18 months old."
At the start of the study, the equivalent of one-third of a peanut kernel triggered an allergic reaction in Noah. After 12 months of treatment, he was able to take the equivalent of about 14 peanuts without having a reaction!
"He continues to take Palforzia, which has given him more independence and his parents more peace of mind."
According to the AJMC, "The prevalence of peanut allergies, the most common food allergy in children, has tripled in the past 2 decades. Today, up to 2.5% of the pediatric population has been diagnosed with a peanut allergy. Peanut allergies result in significant medical, out-of-pocket, and opportunity costs to payers, parents, and employers. They are also a leading cause of food allergy–related deaths in children."
BBC reported that Peanuts are the most common food allergen in the U.S. Meanwhile, NBC News reported the Palforzia pill is administered in three phases taken over time, but cannot be used in an emergency situation like an EpiPen can.
We are just relieved that some help is on the way, even if it doesn't completely remove the allergy.