Oral desensitisation for severe peanut allergy is possible

Oral desensitisation for severe peanut allergy, when successful, means that the fear of accidentally consuming peanut is removed for the patient, and when the reaction can be as severe as anaphylaxis, then this is a huge relief and reduces anxiety greatly.

Researcher Glenda Noumon of the New England Food Allergy Treatment Center in West Hartford, Conn, USA, presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. She reported that patients must be counselled, and proper rigorous precautions taken during desensitisation, and the expectation of each patient is not that they will be cured of peanut allergy, but that their sensitisation will be reduced so that accidental peanut consumption will no longer mean a visit to hospital.

Preliminary data collected from interviews with patients and their families has shown that oral immunotherapy has reduced patients’ anxiety about their allergy, and at the clinic in Connecticut 103 children and adolescents have been treated with slowly escalating doses of peanut protein, of which 56 are now tolerant enough of peanut protein for maintenance dosing. During the treatment, patients are closely monitored, and the center is equipped to treat anaphylactic reactions. To date no case of anaphylaxis has occurred, and no epinephrine has been administered.

Source: Med Page Today

First published November 2011

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