Is There a Cure for Peanut Allergy?
This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 and is filed under Blog by AENT Associates
There has been a significant increase in the number of children who experience food allergies, especially peanut allergies, in recent years. In 1997, only about 0.4 percent of children born in the United States were diagnosed with peanut allergy. By 2010 that number had more than tripled to 1.4 percent.1
If you or a loved one suffer from peanut allergy you understand how disruptive it can be, depending on the severity. Children with especially serious cases could potentially go into anaphylactic shock from simply inhaling peanut dust, which has led to many airlines to stop serving peanuts to passengers. Schools have adopted stringent guidelines for foods as well, with many prohibiting peanuts on campus altogether, even for children who aren’t affected by a peanut allergy.
Parents of children with peanut allergy must constantly monitor what their child consumes by carefully reading ingredient lists on every package of food they purchase. Cross contamination is also a constant threat. Establishments that sell ice cream, for example, may use the same scoop for an ice cream that contains peanuts and one that doesn’t. Some manufacturing plants may use the same equipment for making or packaging snacks that include peanuts and snacks that don’t contain peanuts. Peanut butter is also sometimes used as a thickening ingredient for some dishes, such as chili, a food one normally wouldn’t associate with peanuts.
Peanuts are simply hard to avoid, which makes life more complicated for families who do everything in their power to protect their children from having an allergic reaction.
Although still in the experimental testing phase, there does seem to be some potentially good news on the horizon thanks to a new immunotherapy trial intended to improve peanut tolerance for people who struggle with peanut allergy.
Probiotic and Peanut Oral Immunotherapy (PPOIT)
Immunotherapy is not a new concept, and the recent treatments for peanut allergies are relatively similar to the approach used to improve tolerance to other allergies.
Carefully administered exposure to allergens, performed by a physician in a medical setting to ensure proper dosage and assistance should the reaction to the treatment require medical attention, is a common treatment for many types of allergies.
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia utilized a version of this immunotherapy during a 2013 peanut allergy treatment trial with 48 children. During the trial, some of the 48 children received a probiotic and increasing dose of peanuts for a year and a half while the rest were given a placebo. The treatments were administered once a day for a year and a half. This treatment modality is known as probiotic and peanut oral immunotherapy, or PPOIT.2
Immediately following the trial’s conclusion, approximately 82 percent of the children receiving PPOIT were able to eat foods containing peanuts without experiencing allergic reactions. Four years later, even though the treatment was no longer continuing, 70 percent of the children were still able to consume peanuts without suffering symptoms.
Although the results weren’t universal, and the degree to which the children were able to tolerate peanuts in their diets varied, the fact that there was a marked improvement for such a high percentage of children involved in the trial should give hope to parents that one day in the not-too-distant future there may be effective treatment methods to lessen the impact of peanut allergy.
Allergy Treatments in the Houston Area
If you or a loved one suffer from peanut or other allergies, you can trust the experienced allergy specialists at Allergy & ENT Associates for knowledgeable treatments and therapies designed to alleviate symptoms and improve tolerance to existing allergies. Our specialists understand the struggles faced by parents of children with peanut and other food allergies, and can be an invaluable partner in treatments and providing lifestyle advice and guidance to ensure your child’s comfort and safety. You can schedule an appointment at one of our many local Houston area offices by calling (713) MY-SINUS.