by: Margie Coghill

People who suffer from peanut allergies are at risk of suffering from a severe allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock, which can cause severe reactions such as impaired breathing, swelling in the throat, a sudden drop in blood pressure, pale skin or blue lips, fainting and dizziness. Unless treated immediately with epinephrine, which is administered by an auto-injector (EpiPen), anaphylaxis can be fatal.

Avoiding foods that contain peanuts can be a challenge.

The following foods often contain peanuts:

» Ground or mixed nuts
» Baked goods, such as cookies and pastries
» Ice cream and frozen desserts
» Energy bars
» Cereals and granola
» Grain bread
» Salad dressings

On top of that, many foods are cooked or fried in peanut oil, which can also trigger anaphylactic shock.

There is no approved treatment to prevent a peanut allergy, up until now, the standard of care has been avoiding foods that contain peanuts or a strict elimination diet.

The good news is there is an experimental new treatment called AR101 Oral Immunotherapy, which is a peanut-derived, oral biologic drug that has been helping peanut allergy sufferers. A research team worked with participants aged from 4 to 55 years old who lived with peanut allergies.

At the beginning and end of the study, the volunteers undertook an oral food challenge so the scientists could establish the severity of their allergic reactions.

By the end of the study, the researchers found that 80% of the participants successfully attained a daily maintenance dose, which was the equivalent of two peanuts per day, after 9 to 12 months of treatment. This could make it much safer for peanut allergy sufferers to survive an accidental peanut dose without an EpiPen shot.

Established physicians that practice medicine in food allergy immunotherapy hope those new to the field treat lightly. Doctors who offer such treatment must know the data and research methods encompassed in published results and the side effects that may ensue.

This exciting new breakthrough treatment for peanut allergy sufferers may be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the second half of 2019.