At the end of January, the FDA approved a drug to mitigate allergic reactions to peanuts.
Currently, there are more than 1 million children living with a peanut allergy and only one in five of those children will outgrow the sensitivity.
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system responds negatively to a foreign substance. For those with peanut allergies, eating this particular food or simply coming into contact with the food sparks an adverse reaction to what the immune system believes is harmful.
Palforzia, the new drug, aims to treat a reaction that may occur from an inadvertent exposure to peanuts. This means it is not meant to cure the allergy, but to be used in conjunction with the avoidance of peanuts.
Being treated with the new drug can lower the risk of severe reactions. Individuals between the ages of 4 and 17 can be treated with Palforzia and must also continue to avoid contact with peanuts. The drug cannot be used for emergency treatment should a reaction occur.
Palforzia is manufactured peanut powder that comes in capsules. The treatment is three stages: initial dose escalation, up-dosing and maintenance. Phase one occurs in a single day. Phase two takes several months and has 11 increasing dose levels. Phase three consists of daily maintenance that may begin once all the up-dosing levels are complete.
The initial dose and the primary dose of each up-dosing level must be administered by a healthcare professional to manage any potential reactions like anaphylaxis, which can occur during any stage of the treatment. Patients may continue taking the following dose levels at home if they have tolerable reactions after each new dose of the second phase.
For those living with a peanut allergy — or any allergy — avoiding contact with certain foods can be difficult. These chain restaurants have the most allergy-friendly accommodations.