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First Drug for Peanut Allergy Approved

Jan 31, 2020 by Ameer Helles

In a new, ground-breaking step in the struggle against food allergies, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first medication (Palforzia) for children with potentially life-threatening peanut allergies.

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, MD, PhD, 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."

Palforzia is seen as an important test matter for a new generation of therapies that are expected to transform how to treat food allergies. Doctors who have had few other tools than counseling their patients to avoid peanuts assiduously expect other drugs to follow additional peanut allergy drugs, as well as allergies to eggs and tree nut. Aimmune Therapeutics, which makes Palforzia has several other treatments for food allergy in its pipeline.

Palforzia can be life-changing for people willing to commit to taking the therapy as directed. "I think this will give many children the opportunity to very possibly have an increased quality of life," says Sandra Hong, MD, director of the Food Allergy Center at Strongsville Family Health Center in Ohio, part of the Cleveland Clinic Health System.


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