FDA approves first drug to combat peanut allergies in children

A roasted nut vendor works at his stand on 125th street in the New York neighborhood of Harlem on November 1, 2008. On Friday, Jan. 31, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the first drug to treat life-threatening allergic reactions to peanuts in children.
A roasted nut vendor works at his stand on 125th street in the New York neighborhood of Harlem on November 1, 2008. On Friday, Jan. 31, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the first drug to treat life-threatening allergic reactions to peanuts in children.

Credit: Richard B. Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Credit: Richard B. Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved on Friday the first drug to treat life-threatening allergic reactions to peanuts in children, multiple news outlets reported.

According to CNN, the drug is intended for use in children between the ages of 4 and 17 and designed to minimize the severity of allergic reactions but is not considered a cure.

In fact, the new drug, which is called Palforzia, has in some instances triggered the very reactions it is designed to mitigate, The Washington Post reported.

“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,” Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

Specifically, the treatment regimen requires children taking Palforzia, manufactured by Aimmune Therapeutics, to attempt to gradually desensitize their allergies by also eating incrementally increased dosages of peanut protein, The Post reported.

And while two-thirds of children who participated in a clinical trial were eventually able to tolerate the equivalent of two peanuts in a sitting with no adverse effects, nine percent of the study's participants experienced severe allergic reactions, CNN reported.

Read more here and here.