First-Ever Drug For Deadly Peanut Allergies In Children Approved For Use
A groundbreaking drug to combat potentially deadly peanut allergies in children has been approved for use, the first of its kind in the United States.
The drug AR101 (Palforzia) can now be used for patients aged between four and 17, the United States Food and Drug Administration ruled.
Palforzia relies on oral immunotherapy, meaning children are administered small but increasing amounts of peanut protein over six months to build up their tolerance.
However, even after six months, children will still have to take a daily dose of the drug to tolerate being exposed to peanuts.
Researchers stressed the drug, which comes in powder form to be sprinkled on food, is not a treatment and anaphylactics must continue avoiding eating peanuts.
The goal, the company says, is to get allergic children and teens to the point where accidental exposure to small amounts of peanuts do not trigger a potentially life-threatening immune response.
Peanut allergies are the leading cause of death from food-induced allergic reactions in the United States, with symptoms ranging from red and swollen skin to potentially deadly airway constriction.
Peanut allergies are also one of the most common in Australia, occurring in 10 percent of infants and two percent of adults.
In recent years, food allergies have increased, particularly in young children.
Scientists are unsure about the reasons for this but suspect delayed introduction of foods or less exposure to them in childhood may cause allergies.
The drug has not yet been approved for use in Australia or the UK.
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