Feeding kids with a peanut allergy can be difficult — and scary. But a new treatment might dial down the allergy a bit.
California-based Aimmune Therapeutics has been making progress in this area with a new study on its peanut-based capsule.
According to Los Angeles Times, the study analyzed children ages 4-17 who have severe allergic reactions to peanuts. Researchers gave these children doses of the peanut powder over a period of 6 months, gradually increasing it as they went.
As a result, Los Angeles Times reported that 67 percent of children who received the capsule could handle about two peanuts by the end.
This research by Aimmune Therapeutics is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. According to the company’s website, it is one of several Phase 3 clinical trials that could help the treatment receive US Food and Drug Administration approval.
New Mindset on Peanut Allergies
In recent years, experts have changed their minds about kids with peanut allergies. Many now believe that exposing children to peanuts at an early age could prevent the allergy entirely or reduce its severity.
And breakthroughs like the Aimmune study could be just enough to prove their new stance.
In February 2017, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases set new guidelines on introducing peanuts to children.
According to their report, most children can be introduced to age-appropriate forms of peanuts as early as 6 months. Parents of children with severe eczema and/or egg allergy should strongly consider testing for peanut allergies.
At the same time, many children with no risk of allergies may only need to be introduced according to the family’s usual habits. Age-appropriate forms could include watered-down peanut butter after the child has been introduced to other solid foods.
These new guidelines were published as a report in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in 2017.
For parents of children with allergies, this new research and possible new treatment could change lives. According to Food Allergy Research and Education, as many as 15 million Americans have food allergies. And a whopping 6 million of those are kids.
Until now, most food allergens have had to be avoided once a child is diagnosed. In the future, though, who knows? Maybe researchers can develop similar therapies for other allergens too.
While the results of the Aimmune study seem promising, there is a huge caveat. Don’t try your own at-home therapy with allergic kids.
Children with known allergies need close, professional monitoring when consuming peanut products. In a short time, your child may be able to safely use an FDA-approved treatment anyway.