Food allergy affects a very large number of people and has a significantly negative effect regarding the quality of life for these individuals and their families. Each year peanut allergic reactions are associated with more deaths from food allergy than any other food. For many years the mainstay of treatment for food allergy has been avoidance of the food and prescription of emergency medicine such as an epinephrine auto-injector (examples include the EpiPen or AUVI-Q) to treat accidental consumption of the food.
Several years ago our practice began a program to treat peanut allergic individuals in order to increase their ability to accidentally consume the food without triggering an allergic reaction. This treatment, known as oral desensitization (Peanut Oral Immunotherapy), involves consuming peanut flour while being monitored in our office. The initial dose of peanut flour is minuscule, small enough to not trigger an allergic reaction. Then slowly and cautiously the amount of peanut flour consumed is increased at two-week intervals. Many graduates of our peanut oral immunotherapy program are able to consume 10 or more peanuts daily. Our peanut desensitization program has been very successful and was subsequently expanded to include other common allergic foods such as cow’s milk, egg, sesame, almond and tree nuts.
On Friday, September 13, 2019, the Allergenic Products Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted in favor of a commercial product to treat peanut allergy. The brand name is expected to be Palforzia. Previously this product was referred to as AR101. It is a standardized form of peanut flour. The proposed indication is as a treatment to reduce the incidence and severity of allergic reactions from accidental peanut ingestion in patients aged 4 to 17 years. The cost for this standardized form of peanut flour sold as a drug has not been announced, but some analysts put the patient’s cost at $4200 per year, which would be in addition to cost of physician services. Final approval has not yet been granted.
Note: while there are physician service charges to participate in our peanut desensitization program, we provide our patients with their peanut flour at no additional cost.
We welcome ongoing research and product development for the treatment of food allergy. If Palforzia is eventually given final approval by the Food and Drug Administration our practice will weigh the pros and cons of using the FDA approved version of peanut flour with our current practice of using the peanut flour that we purchase from a peanut mill and provide to our patients. We are always mindful of our patients’ best interests as well as the potential cost burden for our patients.
Advanced Specialty Care's board certified Allergy and Asthma specialists can provide testing and treatment for seasonal, food, pet, insect allergies and more, as well as asthma. Allergy and Asthma appointments are available throughout Fairfield and Litchfield County, Connecticut in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield, CT. If you have questions about Food Oral Immunotherapy and allergy treatments, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (203) 830-4700 or simply click here to fill out an appointment request form.
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