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.
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.