First peanut allergy drug close to FDA approval

Like anywhere, accidents can happen at La Crescent-Hokah Middle-High School.

“Things happen, kids bring a peanut butter sandwich and sit next to somebody they don’t know has allergies,” said La Crescent School District Nurse Lauren Dodson.

One in thirteen children in the United States have food allergies, and kids with allergies have doubled in the last two decades. Meaning Nurse Dodson has gone through the protocol before.

“For the mild reactions we can use Benadryl first, and if that’s not reacting we would switch to the Epipen if needed.”

Dodson doesn’t want to use the Epipen first to treat a child because of its price.

It costs 650-700 dollars for a package of two Epipens. Some parents may have to buy more than one package for their child.

“Sometimes parents need to get two if not more.”

A possible alternative to the Epipen is a new treatment taken orally, hoping to help build a peanut tolerance.

“The new therapy is called Palforzia, and it is a new peanut allergy product recommended for FDA approval,” explained Pediatric Allergist for Gundersen Health System Samantha Knox.

Palforzia has small peanut proteins that are taken every day, and slowly in larger doses. The product would not cure an allergy to peanuts, but increase tolerance with the higher doses.

“After six months they were able to ingest the equivalent of about two peanut kernels,” explained Knox on a Palforzia test group.

Palforzia does not replace the Epipen, but it hopefully can limit someone’s allergic reaction to have it not be used as often to treat someone.

“The less invasive the better, if you can avoid an injection that would be great,” explained Dodson.

There’s some time to go before someone can buy Palforzia, but its potential results are promising for Dodson.

“Lessening the risk of those life threatening reactions is a plus.”

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