Peanut allergy patch! The NIH announces a possible treatment for peanut allergy in children
Epicutaneous immunotherapy holds promise as a treatment for peanut allergy
NIH Research Matters recently reported that a wearable skin patch that delivers tiny amounts of peanut protein through the skin shows promise for treating children with peanut allergy. Called epicutaneous (on the skin) immunotherapy or EPIT, the treatment was found to be safe and well tolerated in a small clinical trial that will continue to be assessed. This breaking news provides welcome relief to parents, because peanut allergy is one of the most common causes of food allergies beginning in early life.
Although peanut allergy in children is often mild, it can be serious and even life threatening.
Avoidance of exposure to peanuts is currently the only way of minimizing the possibility of allergic reactions. Unfortunately, prevention of exposure is very difficult since peanuts and peanut products are found in many foods. Furthermore, many foods not containing peanuts are processed in plants that produce foods that contain peanuts. Even small amounts of peanut products contaminating non-peanut foods can cause serious allergic reactions in highly sensitive individuals.
The NIH reports that the study will continue to assess the long-term safety and effectiveness of peanut epicutaneous immunotherapy. Additional studies in larger groups of children are necessary for the patch to be approved for use by the FDA.
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Reference: NIH Research Matters, November 8, 2016. Skin patch could treat peanut allergy. Online [available at]: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/skin-patch-could-treat-peanut-allergy [accessed November 23, 2016].