The latest research being presented at American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting suggests peanut allergies in children have increased by 21% since 2010. Government officials have now backed an experimental treatment for children with peanut allergies and the pill could be approved by the FDA as early as January.
The most prominent food allergy, peanut allergies are estimated to affect 2.5% of children in the United States.
Children and families struggle with the allergy as treatment usually consists of closely monitoring the child’s diet, but that can be challenging when some ingredients may have unknowingly come in contact with peanuts.
The forthcoming treatment consists of daily capsules filled with peanut powder that will work to build a child’s immunity. The target patient is from ages 4-17 and approximately 1.6 million children worldwide would be eligible to receive treatment.
The treatment appears to make a difference, with nearly 66% of children who participated in a study of the drug showing an increased tolerance of peanuts. However, the study was not without flaws; nearly 9% of participants reported extreme allergic reactions and 11% dropped out of the study citing serious side effects.
But for many families struggling with the ongoing stress of managing a peanut allergy, a daily pill would be a great relief. California based company, Aimmune is the manufacturer of the drug and is currently working on treatments for other common food allergies like eggs.
The FDA has heard from an outside advisory panel consisting of the manufacturer, physicians, patients and parents of patients who have used the treatment. The FDA is expected to continue to monitor the progress of the drug and make a final decision on its approval by January.