The FDA Has Approved The First Peanut Allergy Drug
February 3, 2020
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug to treat potentially life-threatening allergic reactions to peanuts.
The drug, Palforzia [Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) Allergen Powder-dnfp], can be used for children between 4 and 17 years old with a confirmed diagnosis of peanut allergy.
“Peanut allergy affects approximately 1 million children in the U.S. and only 1 out of 5 of these children will outgrow their allergy. Because there is no cure, allergic individuals must strictly avoid exposure to prevent severe and potentially life-threatening reactions,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Even with strict avoidance, inadvertent exposures can and do occur. When used in conjunction with peanut avoidance, Palforzia provides an FDA-approved treatment option to help reduce the risk of these allergic reactions in children with peanut allergy.”
The new treatment essentially works by exposing children to controlled dosages of peanut protein until they’ve reached a maintenance level.
The therapy has been life-changing for an 8-year-old girl in Hughesville, MD.
Giuliana Ortega was two years old when she had her first peanut butter cracker. She vomitted white foam before a steroid combatted the reaction. Then in pre-school she had a second severe reaction.
Giuliana has been taking Palforzia through a clinical trial at the Children’s National Hospital since she was 4 and said that the therapy has changed her life.
“I’ve gone on a vacation, can sit at a normal table with the normal kids when I want to, go to the theater without wiping the seat down, can go to a hotel safely, can fly on a plane now,” Giuliana said.
Those who take Palforzia must continue to avoid peanuts in their diets. However, with Palforzia, the risk of a reaction will be lessened.
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