NEW PEANUT ALLERGY DESENSITIZATION DRUG, PALFORZIA, PENDING APPROVAL BY FDA
For individuals with a severe peanut allergy, just the slightest amount of contact or ingestion can be enough to trigger life-threatening symptoms.
Loras College student Mark Morgan recalls his first experience with an allergic reaction caused by peanuts; “I was in fourth grade… my band teacher had just eaten a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, didn’t wash her hands, and was helping me play the trumpet. Next thing you know, I’m trying to play…and while I was playing, my throat swells up and I can’t breathe.”
Mark is just one of 4.5 million adults in the U.S. affected by peanut allergies. However, relief may soon be on the way, as the FDA is nearing the approval of Palforzia, a new oral immunotherapy.
Dr. Brad McClimon, MD, an allergist with Medical Associates in Dubuque, explains that, “…in the past, most studies would use their own peanut powder or measurements, but Palforzia will contain a recommended dosage from researchers that would be universal for most individuals.”
“Typically, it takes half a peanut of ingestion to illicit a reaction, but by doing one of these desensitization protocols, maybe now it takes five peanuts to illicit a reaction,” says McClimon. The goal of Palforzia would be to minimize symptoms seen in a full blown anaphylatic reaction with accidental contact or ingestion.
As with any new treatment or prescription nearing approval by the FDA, some questions still remain, but many individuals with food allergies are optimistic this treatment is a step in the right direction.