A couple of weeks ago we shared stories about how guidelines are changing for introducing kids to allergens and how companies like Ready, Set, Food! are making it easier for parents to safely test out tricky foods with their little ones. This week, the FDA approved the first drug to treat children with food allergies, specifically peanuts.
Palforzia is intended to be taken daily by children 4 to 17 years old who suffer from a peanut allergy. The idea is that the drug builds up the body’s ability to fight an allergic reaction in case the child is accidentally exposed.
Even when parents and children are careful to avoid allergens, accidental exposure can still trigger dangerous inflammatory reactions. This new drug doesn’t aim to “cure” peanut allergies, but rather serves as a second line of defense in case of accidental exposure.
Peanut allergies affect nearly 1 million children in the US, and even with recommended early introductions, many children will continue to grapple with these allergies for their entire lives.
The drug was tested in two studies with approximately 700 people. Some patients did experience side effects, which is why the drug is introduced to patients in phases. The first administration occurs under careful medical supervision before the doses are gradually increased over time.
The drug’s creators stress that it is not a cure-all for allergies, but another solution in mitigating the severity of reactions and some peace of mind for parents and children who have to consciously think about potential allergic triggers every day.