The first drug that prevents potentially deadly reactions in children with severe peanut allergies could be on the horizon, according to results of a new study.
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The results, announced Sunday at a conference of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Seattle, may lead to approval of what could be the first oral medication that ameliorates reactions in children with severe peanut allergies.
After six months of treatment followed by six months of maintenance therapy, two-thirds of the 372 children who received the treatment were able to ingest 600 milligrams or more of peanut protein — the equivalent of two peanuts — without developing allergic symptoms. By contrast, only 4 percent of the 124 children who had been given a placebo powder were able to consume the same amount of peanut without reacting.
The treatment does not work for everyone. Though only 4.3 percent of children receiving the active drug experienced side effects categorized as severe, compared to less than 1 percent of the children on placebo, 20 percent of the children in the active treatment group withdrew from the study, more than half of them because of adverse events.