New treatment aims to help children with severe peanut allergy

Simple Health
Peanut File Photo

KXAN file photo

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first treatment for children and teens with peanut allergy which may be a relief to millions of children and parents in the United States.

The new drug is called Palforzia, a pill containing a powder made from peanuts, and it is approved for kids between the ages of 4-17 years old.

The company behind it, Aimmune Therapeutics, says this is a groundbreaking treatment that will help kids with the serious and sometimes deadly food allergy.

Screenshot of peanut allergy pill Palforzia (KXAN/Frank Martinez)

Dr. Juan Rodriguez Ramos of the Austin Regional Clinic specializes in treating children with allergies, but has never been able to prescribe a pill as treatment.

The Palforzia plan increases its dosage over time with the goal to lessen a child’s severe allergic reaction and build up a tolerance.

“It’s just a way of progressing in small amounts and giving it to the the patient so the patient is able to eventually and hopefully finally, reaching a level that would protect them from unexpected or accidental exposure to peanut,” Dr. Rodriguez Ramos said.

While a possible option, Dr. Rodriguez Ramos says it’s not for everyone — some children in the research study reacted adversely after taking the peanut pill.

“About 14-15% of patients in the research study developed systemic reactions to the peanut and 10% needed epinephrine for treatment,” he said.

Dr. Rodriguez Ramos said the pill is expensive, costing $11,000 per year. It’s unclear how much insurance companies will cover of the treatment. However, Aimmune Therapeutics offers a co-pay assistance program for some patients that qualify — the pill may be free of charge.

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