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New FDA Approved Peanut Allergy Drug

Posted in Food Allergens,Food Safety on April 8, 2020

The FDA released some great news: there is now an approved medication to fight peanut allergies1 Yes, you read that correct; there is now hope for those with peanut allergies to not keep away from them like the plague. Of course this new medication is in its infancy, but according to a recent news release, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s everything we know about the new approved peanut allergy drug.

For those of you with peanut allergies, this must be very exciting news. I personally have never felt the fear of not knowing if something you eat at a restaurant could contain something that could kill you, but to say it is always at the forefront of your mind would be an understatement I’m sure. For those of us that have never had to deal with peanut allergies, let’s take a bit of time and look at what this dangerous allergy is all about, look at this new drug approved by the FDA, and also look at what to look for in case you see someone having an allergic reaction.

The Basics

To begin, it is important to understand there is a difference between peanuts and tree nuts. Tree nuts are just what it sounds like: these nuts grow on trees. Peanuts grow in the ground but people can be allergic to either. Severity of the allergy is also an individual issue. Some may only be slightly allergic while others can find their life endangered just by the dust from one peanut.

The reason some peoples bodies react to a peanut is because the immune system is tricked into “thinking” it is something harmful and will attack the proteins in peanuts through your blood stream. An allergic reaction can be trigged in a variety of ways but the three main ones are:

  • Direct contact: Either eating peanuts of foods that contain peanuts.
  • Cross contact: This is the result of foods being exposed to peanuts during some time in the process.
  • Inhalation: Peanut dust can be breathed in to start an allergic reaction.

Scientists have yet to fully understand why some people Haw allergies while others do not. What is important is knowing if you do and understanding the risks involved. Children are the most common age group to experience food allergies in general. Those with other types of allergies may also be prone to peanut allergies. If a family member is allergic to peanuts, there is a higher probability someone else in the same family will too.

The Approved Peanut Allergy Drug

This new FDA approved medication is named: Palforzia, could give peanut allergy suffers much needed relief if used correctly.

Before we go any farther: Palforzia does NOT cure peanut allergies, it does however have the potential to lessen the adverse reactions associated with these allergies.

After multiple trials, the FDA has determined that “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.” (source)

By using three phases of dosages, the one suffering from peanut allergies can, over time, have more success if a reaction happens:

  • Initial Dose Phase: one dose given on the first day.
  • Up-Dose Phase: a total of 11 increasing levels of medication given over several months.
  • Maintenance Phase: a daily dose is given if the patient does well with the first two phases.

I am interested to see how this will change the way peanut allergy sufferers approach their daily lives. I do not know anyone that has peanut allergies so if anyone is interested in trying this new miracle and letting me know I would love that. This could be a real game-changer.

The Allergy (and Why We Need this Approved Peanut Allergy Drug)

I’m sure there are many of our readers that could tell me what the dangers and symptoms look like for themselves. It is staggering to read that approximately 1 million children in the U.S. suffer from peanut allergies. And that only 1 out of 5 will outgrow this dangerous allergy. Unfortunately, each person has their own battle with peanut allergies and each symptom looks different. Here are a few of the more basic symptoms and the dangers being allergic to peanuts can have:

  • Runny nose
  • Skin reactions like itching, hives, swelling
  • Tingling in the mouth and throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Tightening of the throat
  • Shortness of breath

The second and more dangerous symptom is called anaphylaxis. Of course the above mentioned symptoms are uncomfortable up to dangerous, but anaphylaxis can kill. Symptoms include:

  • Constriction of airways
  • Swelling of the throat making it difficult to breathe
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheaded
  • Passing out

As you can see, any one of these symptoms, if not treated immediately, can result in death. Peanut allergy sufferers know all too well how important it is to carry an EpiPen with them at all times. An EpiPen is a device that injects adrenaline directly into the body and can help counteract severe allergic reactions.

Those with peanut allergies already know when to call their doctors and have already been through visits. Those of us who do not lie with this every day need to understand it is crucial to call 911 if you see someone having an allergic reaction. Time is vital to their survival. Seeking medical advice if you or your children might have a peanut allergy is important as well. Knowing everything you can before you are put in a life-threatening situating is the best place to start.

Peanut allergies are no joke. If you are or know someone who has such an allergy, you already know how dangerous it is. I’m very excited to see a medication that can possibly help hold off the more dangerous reactions.

I will be keeping a close eye on this new medication as time passes. I am optimistic this can and will save lives. Again, if you or someone you know has peanut allergies, I encourage you to learn all you can about this new drug. Knowledge is key in our battle against foodborne illnesses. If you do contract any type of foodborne illness, an attorney from The Lange Law Firm, PLLC can help during a free consultation.

Stay safe.

By: Dwight Spencer, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)