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New drug could combat peanut allergy

(WJRT)
Published: Feb. 3, 2020 at 5:31 PM EST
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More than 1 million kids in the United States have to deal with a peanut allergy.

With

, though, those allergic reactions to peanuts won't be nearly as apparent.

The drug involves taking small doses of peanut powder and increasing that dose on a monthly basis.

"It can be very stressful," said Dr. Dave Gupta, an allergy, asthma and immunology specialist in Lansing. "It can lead to life-threatening reactions, trips to the emergency room and a lot of stress for these families and kids."

All those families haven't had many options when it comes to dealing with peanut allergies.

"Up to this point, the only treatment we've had is avoidance and carrying an EpiPen," said Gupta. "It's taken a significant amount of research and a lot of back and forth with the FDA between the manufacturer and all the studies to get a product available that was safe and effective to be used."

And after years, Palforzia, approved by the FDA last week and set to become available this year, can make lives easier for them.

"The goal is not to cure them, and let them eat a PB&J with their lunch, but to minimize any potential reactions that may occur from accidental ingestion," said Gupta. "That should promote some tolerance, so that if they were to be exposed by accident, they may have no reaction or minimal reaction."

Gupta says Palforzia is a gamechanger for those that struggle with peanut allergies and is a trailblazer for drugs aimed at tackling food allergies.

"There will be many more similar treatments in the pipeline for other allergies like egg, milk, and tree nuts," he said. "That will be able to help a lot more of our patients."

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