Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given approval to Palforzia for the treatment and management of allergic reactions to peanuts to Aimmune Therapeutics, which is a biopharmaceutical company. The drug can help in controlling minor responses as well as anaphylaxis, which is a fatal allergic reaction to peanuts.
According to the statistics present on peanut allergies, only one in five children diagnosed with peanut allergy outgrows their allergy. At the moment, there are around one million children are diagnosed with the allergy annually.
The majority of the children who are affected by this allergy have to actively avoid peanuts completely. This includes not only being careful about foods containing peanuts bu also cutting down the chances of cross-contact exposure.
Any accidental exposure to peanuts can potentially result in serious and life-threatening conditions, which require immediate hospitalization and as well as medical attention.
Currently, peanut allergy has been observed to be increasing amongst children. Therefore, doctors and health professionals recommend parents to closely monitor the diet of their children in order to look out for any potential allergies for prevention of severe allergic reaction.
An allergic reaction to peanuts occurs almost instantly after being exposed to peanuts. Some of the earliest symptoms of a peanut-allergic reaction include a tightening sensation in the throat, runny nose, tingling and itching in the throat or around the mouth, wheezing or shortness of breath, hives, swelling, and redness on the skin, and digestive issues such as nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
In addition, reactions to peanuts are the most common cause of food-related anaphylaxis. The signs of anaphylaxis are dizziness or loss of consciousness, chronic fluctuations in blood pressure, difficulty in breathing or constriction of airways, rapid pulse, swelling in the throat.
Previously, the only treatment for peanut allergy included lifetime prevention of peanuts which includes being cautious of not only direct contact but also inhalation or cross-contact. Any accidental contact would require immediate hospitalization.
Now, the newly-approved drug Palforzia can significantly help with managing peanut allergy and be used for children aged four and over.
The director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks, explains the problem of peanut allergy by stating “Peanut allergy affects approximately 1 million children in the U.S. and only 1 out of 5 of these children will outgrow their allergy. Because there is no cure, allergic individuals must strictly avoid exposure to prevent severe and potentially life-threatening reactions,”
He adds, saying “Even with strict avoidance, inadvertent exposures can and do occur. When used in conjunction with peanut avoidance, Palforzia provides an FDA-approved treatment option to help reduce the risk of these allergic reactions in children with peanut allergy.”
To test the safety of using Palforzia, two double-blind, placebo-controlled studies were conducted which looked at over seven hundred individuals with experienced peanut allergy.
With the introduction of this new drug in the market, the prevalence of peanut allergies among children can hopefully be controlled in the future.