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New peanut allergy drug on the horizon

A new medication will likely be available soon to help children with severe peanut allergies.

Peanut allergies have become a major source of worry for American parents. Recent data from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows peanut allergy in children has increased by more than 20% just since 2010, and more than 2.5% of kids nationwide are now allergic to peanuts. Their reactions to even the tiniest of exposures can rapidly become severe or even life-threatening. 

But a new medical treatment to help children with peanut allergy may be available soon. In late September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Allergenic Products Advisory Committee voted in favor of approving a drug called Palforzia, a medicine designed to minimize both the incidence and severity of allergic reactions in kids between the ages of 4 and 17 with peanut allergies.

If the FDA follows the advisory committee’s recommendation – which is usually the case – the agency will give the drug final approval by sometime in January. 

While not a cure for peanut allergies, the drug could “severely reduce the incidence and severity of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, after accidental exposure to peanut,” according to information from Aimmune Therapeutics, which developed Palforzia. The drug is given in capsules filled with peanut powder, and is administered to patients in controlled, gradually increased doses under a doctor’s supervision. 

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