The FDA Just Approved the First Ever Peanut-Allergy Drug for Children
The FDA finally has good news for kids that suffer from peanut allergies: They just gave the green light to company Aimmune Therapeutics, Inc., to allow them to sell Palforzia.
The drug, according to the New York Post, is a powder that you sprinkle on food that will increase the amount of peanut protein in various foods over a six month period. Eventually this will add up to one peanut. The idea is that patients with allergies to peanuts will develop a tolerance to two to four peanuts. So far the drug is approved for children ages 4 to 17, and it costs $890 per month (which is, unfortunately, cost restrictive for many people).
The new drug Palforzia will not actually cure any peanut allergies, or work to prevent people from developing them at a young age. By taking the drug, you still won’t be able to eat peanuts and feel fine without any reactions, so children using the drug will still have to keep EpiPens and other sources of medical assistance with them, just in case.
Still, the drug is a huge step in helping to manage treatment of symptoms, and for making the bodily response to peanut exposure less serious and deadly. It’s meant to prevent children’s bodies from the type of immune-system overreactions that can be so serious and scary that they lead to hospitalization or death. And this is even more important for cases where the cross-contamination isn’t known at all, such as in those hidden food products where the rapid onset of symptoms isn’t at all on their radar.
Anyone who has a kid with a peanut allergy knows what an impact this new drug can have on their lives. Going out to restaurants or simply eating new-to-you foods can be terrifying, because even if there is a slight trace of peanuts in something, it can have dire consequences. The number of people with peanut allergies is also quite staggering. It’s estimated that 1 in 13 children in the United States has at least one food allergy, and an allergy to peanuts is the most common.