The FDA approval of a new food allergy treatment late in last month (January, 2020), marks a momentous milestone in medicine. For the first time, kids with a potentially life-threatening allergy to peanut and their families have an approved treatment that goes beyond stringent avoidance, and use of an EpiPen in the event of a reaction due to accidental exposure.
If you know a child with an allergy to peanut — which is the leading cause of a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis — you’ve probably seen just how hard parents have to work to prevent an allergic child from encountering even a trace of peanut protein. A long list of things the average person takes for granted — birthday parties, spontaneous getaways, enjoying a restaurant meal — involve a great deal of planning, or are simply out of the question. Now, imagine being able to increase the amount of peanut that child can tolerate without developing serious symptoms. Suddenly, the world opens up.
This newly-approved treatment for peanut allergy isn’t a cure, and, like any medical intervention, it’s not perfect. But it certainly is giving families with food allergy hope for the future.
To find out more, read my Today’s Parent story.
If you’re interested in learning more about oral immunotherapy treatment (OIT) for food allergy, Food Allergy Canada has a treasure trove of resources, starting with this page of ten questions to ask about OIT, and an informative webinar.
Thank-you to all of the interviewees who were kind enough to speak with me for the story: Dr. Moshe Ben-Shoshan, a paediatric allergist and immunologist at Montreal Children’s Hospital; Health Canada media relations officer Marie-Pier Burell; Jennifer Gerdts, Executive Director of Food Allergy Canada; parent-expert Fiona Kelder; and Burlington, Ont., paediatric allergist Dr. Doug Mack.